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    Twitter has shared an archive of material that could be linked to alleged information campaigns by Russia and Iran. This comes after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testified before Congress about foreign interference in US elections. Sputnik has discussed the issue with UK-based political commentator and activist Alan Bailey.

    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.

    READ MORE: Election Meddling: Journo Explains Why Trump, Pence Got It all Wrong About China

    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?

    The thing to remember about Twitter is that the vast majority of people only see posts from members they subscribe to. In other words, anyone reading these posts has subscribed to these members' posts or to someone re-tweeting the posts. It’s not TV. You don’t sit there and watch anything Twitter broadcasts. If the tweets from these members had any effect, then it was because those reading them had sympathy with the content of the tweets anyway.

    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.

    READ MORE: Media Rush to Ponder Alleged Russian Collusion as Twitter Releases 'Troll' Posts

    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?

    Alan Bailey:  Twitter made it official policy that impersonation of another person is a violation of their terms of use and can delete an account upon finding out that this has occurred. Yet many parody accounts exist, mocking celebrities and the like. So this policy, in particular, has been leveraged as a means of deleting accounts producing content that is not in line with US policy and/or representing movements seen in a bad light by the US authorities.

    READ MORE: Twitter Censors Free Speech Despite Claims to Be Public Freedom Forum — Watchdog

    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.

    Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect Sputnik's position.

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