5,000 bot accounts that are defensive of President Donald Trump and say that the Mueller investigation is a hoax have been removed from Twitter this week. This happened after the Mueller report was released and was reported by NBC News at first, according to The Hill.
As NBC reported, it seems like these accounts are not connected to Russia; instead, they are closer to Saudi Arabia and its government.
A spokesperson was talking about this as he said:
‘’We suspended a network of accounts and others associated with it for engaging in platform manipulation – a violation of the Twitter Rules. While our investigations are ongoing, in cases such as this, attribution is difficult. If we do have reasonable evidence to support state-backed activity, we will disclose the accounts as part of our information operations archive.’’
Much of the accounts that have been deleted post somewhere around 30 times since they were created. They all acted in the same way, attacking the mainstream media for using the whole Russia investigation to discredit President Trump according to a report from NBC.
The accounts mostly liked or retweeted posts from @TheGlobus (an account that presents itself as a news outlet, but one month ago it posted only memes that praise Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman). The deleted accounts only liked and retweeted posts from @TheGlobus and no other account.
A senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute Clint Watts was talking with NBC News about this as he said:
‘’Whether this is a government or a pro-Saudi influence firm, it shows how easy it is to do and that there is no cost or consequences for it. These are made to influence Americans or western audiences.’’
Last year, The New York Times reported that the Saudi government is suspected to have contacted a Twitter employee to help them in monitoring dissidents’ accounts. The employee was fired in December 2015.