New Delhi/Kiev: Twitter admitted it had mistakenly suspended some accounts relaying information about Russian troops, as the country began a military strike against Ukraine on Thursday.
Several researchers sharing Russia-Ukraine information found their Twitter accounts "unexpectedly" suspended since late Wednesday.
The people behind the suspended accounts said they believed they had been the target of an attack by Russian bots — computers that mimic the activity of human users — that had mass-reported their content as being suspicious. This led their content to be removed automatically by Twitter's moderation technology
Twitter's Head of Site Integrity, Yoel Roth, said in a tweet that the company's human moderation team made the mistake.
"A small number of human errors as part of our work to proactively address manipulated media resulted in these incorrect enforcements. We're fixing the issue and reaching out directly to the affected folks," he posted.
"We do not trigger automated enforcements based on report volume, ever, exactly because of how easily gamed that would be," Roth added.
Earlier, Oliver Alexander, analysts with open-source intelligence (OSINT), said: "I am back again after having been locked out twice in 24 hours. First time for a post debunking the "foiled sabotage / gas attack" and second time for a post debunking the "Ukrainian attack into Russia".
OSINT researcher Kyle Glen was also locked out of his account for 12 hours, according to tweets from Glen and a post shared by another OSINT organisation.
Security analyst Oliver Alexander also claimed to have been locked out of his account twice in 24 hours, reports The Verge.
A Twitter thread compiled by Nick Waters, an analyst at the pioneering OSINT organisation Bellingcat, listed more account suspensions.
In an earlier statement, a Twitter spokesperson said that action had been taken against these accounts in error and was not part of a coordinated campaign.
"We're closely investigating -- but mass reporting is not a factor here," said Roth.