Sputnik: What’s your take on the timing of Twitter’s release of data dating back years? Why now?
Alan Bailey: This is all related to the upcoming US mid-term elections, and further back to the campaign to discredit current US President Trump. There has been a long-running process of undermining Trump’s validity by blaming his victory on external actors. Mainly Russia. According to the US authorities, social media was the main weapon of choice in swinging the public opinion towards Trump and we are now seeing a process of neutering social media so that any dissenting voices outside the mainstream will struggle to be heard.
In its blog post Twitter mentioned some 3,800 accounts it says were affiliated with Russia and some 770 accounts associated with Iran, so over 4,500 accounts overall. How big of a role could these 4,500 accounts have played in the so-called disinformation campaign?
Sputnik: The company also revealed that these accounts have sent over 10 million tweets over the years. Meanwhile, according to Google, some 500 million tweets are sent on Twitter every day. Again, how big of a role could this have played in shaping public opinion?
Alan Bailey: Same as above really. If people were influenced by these tweets, then it is because the mainstream media is not supplying the quality of info they require and this is being fulfilled by the "Russian tweets." What on earth is wrong with reading a Russian point of view on social media? Nothing. It’s up to the Mainstream to disprove the content and at this, they fail regularly.
Sputnik: In your view, how much of a role do Twitter’s and Facebook’s identification policies play when it comes to setting up new accounts with these networks?
Sputnik: What measures should Twitter take to improve its performance as a safe and unbiased platform, in your opinion?
Alan Bailey: Twitter needs to resist outside pressure to censor its content. Beyond ensuring that only people of a certain age are allowed to sign up for the network, it’s my view that everything else should be open and uncensored. It’s very easy to block or mute a user who is annoying to a user.
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