A number of allegedly “pro-Russian” Twitter accounts in India have been suspended for apparent “coordinated inauthentic behavior” after posting messages supportive of Moscow’s military offensive in Ukraine, the New York Times has reported.
Twitter suspended more than 100 users following research published by Marc Owen Jones at Qatar’s Hamad bin Khalifa University and Graham Brookie of the Atlantic Council’s digital forensic research lab.
The pro-NATO lobby group is funded by the US and British governments, as well as a number of Ukrainian oligarchs.
The Times itself admitted, however, that “there was no hard evidence [the accounts] are part of a coordinated influence campaign aimed at shifting sentiment about the war” in Ukraine. The paper also pointed out that India’s government has maintained a neutral policy toward the war thus far – and a Twitter spokeswoman claimed the company was still investigating.
The platform acknowledged in a recent blog post that it has deleted 75,000 accounts for violation of its “platform manipulation and spam policy” since the war in Ukraine began. Those accounts are not thought to “represent a specific, coordinated campaign associated with a government actor.”
Jones highlighted alleged “suspicious behavior” among those Indian accounts promoting the Russian government’s view on the war, including accounts using stock photos in profiles and gaining plentiful likes and retweets despite few followers. The profiles had also used the #IStandWithPutin hashtag.