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Twitter purges accounts, and conservatives cry foul

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Twitter has pruned more suspected trolls and fake accounts from its platform, prompting several of its most outspoken conservative users to complain Wednesday that they had lost thousands of followers overnight.

Conservatives quickly decried what they called the "#twitterlockout," adding it to their list of grievances against what they see as an ideologically liberal tech industry. The topic also got heavy promotion among Twitter accounts that some researchers have linked to Russia's online influence campaigns.

Twitter's move came just days after the federal indictments of 13 Russians connected with a St. Petersburg-based "troll farm" heightened the pressure on social media companies to clamp down on the plague of fake accounts that marred the 2016 presidential election.

Twitter said Wednesday that it was simply cleansing its platform of objectively “spammy behavior,” an effort it had announced late last year. “As part of our ongoing work in safety, we identify suspicious account behaviors that indicate automated activity or violations of our policies around having multiple accounts, or abuse,” a spokesperson told POLITICO.



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