Twitter has admitted that during the Ukraine invasion, it mistakenly removed accounts that shared Russian military activity.
According to TechCrunch, the deleted accounts included an aggregator of user-generated posts from Ukraine and accounts owned by people conducting open source intelligence investigation (OSINT) to debunk fake news and claims.
While users initially blamed mass reporting for the account deletions, Twitter Head of Site Integrity Yoel Roth stated that this was not the case. Instead, the removals were the result of mistakes made by human moderators who are proactive in dealing with manipulated media on the website.
In a statement, a Twitter spokesperson explained to TechCrunch, “We’ve been proactively monitoring for emerging narratives that are violative of our policies, and, in this instance, we took enforcement action on a number of accounts in error.
“We’re expeditiously reviewing these actions and have already proactively reinstated access to a number of affected accounts.”
Twitter has responded to the Ukraine crisis with tips on how to secure accounts, in addition to proactively monitoring manipulated media from the region.
Ukraine’s websites have been targeted by cyberattacks in recent weeks, and social media accounts, particularly those that share news and images from the country, may also be targeted.
Twitter Safety has published a series of tweets in Ukrainian that provide advice on how to secure accounts with strong passwords and two-factor authentication. It also included links to its support page for those whose accounts were compromised or who were locked out.
Twitter has directed users to instructions on how to disable location data and remove it from previous tweets. Finally, it advises users to deactivate their accounts if they believe that deleting them completely is the safest option.