Twitter claims that it has suspended 130 Iranian accounts for “attempting to disrupt the public conversation” during the US presidential debate.
“Based on intel provided by the FBI, last night we removed approximately 130 accounts that appeared to originate in Iran,” a thread by the Twitter Safety account reads. “They were attempting to disrupt the public conversation during the first 2020 US Presidential Debate. We identified these accounts quickly, removed them from Twitter, and shared full details with our peers, as standard. They had very low engagement and did not make an impact on the public conversation. Our capacity and speed continue to grow, and we’ll remain vigilant.”
Based on intel provided by the @FBI, last night we removed approximately 130 accounts that appeared to originate in Iran. They were attempting to disrupt the public conversation during the first 2020 US Presidential Debate.
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) October 1, 2020
This evidence-free claim aligns with the narrative popularized by the Russiagate conspiracy theory that foreign governments seek to “sow discord” in the United States by amplifying controversial political opinions from both sides of mainstream US discourse, and it is idiotic for a number of reasons.
Firstly, anyone who watched America’s trainwreck of a first presidential debate knows the argument that a few social media accounts could make the US political conversation any more polarized, hostile and toxic than mainstream news outlets and elected officials have already made it is like saying a tsunami was exacerbated by someone throwing a thimble full of water in the ocean.
The much-touted Russian social media election interference in 2016 was shown to be a joke, consisting of a few thousand dollars going toward silly memes and posts amplifying both sides of the political conversation, and much of it happening after the election itself. The few sample tweets provided by Twitter in this latest so-called attempt to disrupt the public conversation from Iran are vastly less significant than even that, saying nothing particularly noteworthy and bizarrely appearing to side with Trump.
The idea that any of this could have any effect worth mentioning on the gibbering vortex of irrational vitriol that is American political discourse makes no sense whatsoever,