Twitter’s Private Policy Might Have Interfered With The Probe On Russian Interference With U.S Presidential Elections

Federal officials may have hit a brick wall trying to retrieve vital information from tweets that might offer insight into Russia’s involvement in U.S elections because Twitter deleted them as per its privacy policy.

The federal investigators have been probing into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 U.S presidential elections. The investigators believe that the Russians used social media services such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook spread content aimed at affecting the outcome of the elections. According to reports, the Russians used fake accounts and automated bots to achieve their desired outcome. Unfortunately, Twitter may have deleted tweets that may have contained vital information that would have aided the investigation.

The social media company deletes tweets that are flagged due to the violation of the policy regarding inappropriate and extremist content. Flagged tweets and their content thus end up being deleted.  The company has however h

“Once an account has been deactivated, there is a very brief period in which we may be able to access account information, including Tweets . . . Content deleted by account holders (e.g., Tweets) is generally not available,” states Twitter’s data retention guidelines.

However, the social media company provided the Twitter handles of 201 accounts that were linked to Russians trying to influence the outcome of the elections. The Twitter handles were handed over to the Senate investigators. This was after the company found itself being the subject of criticism for not taking the investigations seriously and this led to put in more cooperation.

Sources familiar with the matter revealed that the account names were handed over recently which means that there could some progress despite the fact some tweets were deleted. There has been a lot of uncertainty pertaining to whether or not the company might still be able to recover deleted tweets from its servers.  The anonymous sources also revealed that the company had withheld the account names due to legal privacy issues.

Facebook also reported that Russians had acquired ads worth roughly $100,000 and these ads are believed to have been used to sway the votes. They are also believed to have been spreading false news on the social media giant’s platform. Twitter also discovered that Russia’s Internet Research Agency had been sourcing information from Facebook. Roughly 22 Twitter accounts were suspended for acrimonious political content during the 2016 presidential campaigns.