Sunday, April 2

Twitter ‘mistakenly’ blocks accounts documenting Russian attack on Ukraine

Several Twitter accounts that documented military movements around the Ukraine-Russia border are being suspended by the social network. According to Twitter’s security chief, Yoel Roth, the reason for the blocks is “a small number of human errors as part of our work to proactively address manipulated content led to these incorrect applications.”

The blockades began in the early hours of Tuesday and have been extended through Wednesday and Thursday, coinciding with the final Russian attack on Ukrainian territory. The affected accounts are specialized in sharing information obtained from open sources and in OSINT investigation. open source intelligence), such as satellite images or videos taken on the ground.

The fact that these types of profiles were blocked at a key moment in Vladimir Putin’s offensive against Kiev has made the OSINT community fear that this was due to a Russian maneuver, such as cyberattacks or mass denunciation campaigns organized by swarms. of fake accounts controlled by Moscow. “Russia is very, very savvy about social media. They know how to manipulate and control a narrative,” recalled one of the experts.

Roth has denied the possibility of the mass reports. “We are investigating it closely, but massive complaints are not a factor here,” he assured on the platform itself. “We never activate automated blocking based on the volume of reports, precisely because of how easy it would be to fool that system.”

Twitter’s action has affected accounts in several languages, from English to Spanish, passing through French and Portuguese. OSINT expert Nick Waters, a member of the award-winning organization Bellingcat (specialized in this type of investigation) has documented some of the accounts that have been affected by Twitter’s action.

In the last hours some of the blocked accounts have regained control of their profile. In the explanation message that Twitter adds to the suspended accounts, it did not add information about the rules that they have violated and that have caused the suspension, as some of them have shared. The comments of its security manager suggest that Twitter has reinforced its measures against manipulated images and videos in the face of the resurgence of the conflict, which has taken the investigative accounts of open sources ahead. has asked the social network for a more specific explanation of what happened, but has not yet received a response.

Russian troops have attacked up to 10 regions of Ukraine on Wednesday night, as reported by Kiev, which raises the dead to 7 and has decreed martial law. “I have made the decision of a special military operation,” Putin had reported minutes earlier. The EU announced tougher sanctions for Russia earlier this Thursday that will affect “the Kremlin, Russia’s ability to modernize and the financing of the war.”