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Twitter removes 130 accounts disrupting public conversation during Trump-Biden debate

FILE PHOTO: An illustration picture shows the Twitter logo reflected in the eye of a woman in Berlin, November 7, 2013. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/Illustration

(Reuters) - Twitter Inc said on Wednesday it had removed 130 accounts, as they were attempting to disrupt the public conversation during the first U.S. presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden.

Twitter removed the accounts, which appeared to originate in Iran, "based on intel" provided by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), it said in a tweet here.

The accounts had very low engagement and did not make an impact on the public conversation, the social media giant said, adding, that the accounts and their content will be published in full once the investigation is complete.

One of the tweet was worded “are You watching For Fun too?”, showing graphical representation on why voters would plan to watch the debate, according to a sample tweet shared by Twitter.

Last week, Twitter said it worked with Facebook Inc to identify and remove 350 accounts which could be used by Russia’s intelligence services to leak hacked documents as part of efforts to disrupt the upcoming U.S. election.

Both companies said one of the networks had been identified following a tip from the FBI, which warned that foreign actors and cybercriminals were likely to spread disinformation about the results of the Nov. 3 election.

Over the last two years, since the 2018 U.S. midterm election, senior U.S. intelligence officials have openly predicted that hackers associated with Russia, China, Iran and North Korea would attempt to target the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Social media companies have long been under pressure to combat misinformation after U.S. intelligence agencies determined Russia used their platforms to meddle in the 2016 vote, allegations that Moscow has denied.

Reporting by Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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