Twitter open-sources their struggles

In a good sign that social media is pursuing more effective ways to stop nefarious misuse of their platforms, Twitter decided to open-source their efforts at stopping foreign operatives from manipulating “public” discourse.

From AdAge (Bloomberg paywall), Twitter posts massive data dump exposing bad actors in Russia, Iran:

Twitter has published data sets comprising millions of tweets, images and videos and thousands of accounts linked to operatives based in Russia and Iran, shedding light on how bad actors outside the U.S. sought to manipulate social-media discourse in their home countries and abroad.

Screen Shot 2018-10-17 at 9.52.22 PMThe release was not packaged for mass media, but rather to open source further investigations into the nature and structure of the attacks. The massive release included 3,841 accounts affiliated with Russia-based Internet Research Agency, 770 potentially from Iran, and 10 million tweets and 2 million images, videos and other media.

Just as the Dutch decided to publicly post their findings from Russian Hackers caught in the act, with great success, Twitter seems to be following suit.

Twitter said it doesn’t expect such information operations to stop and expects bad actors to continue to adapt to new technologies. The company said an independent analysis of the activity is an important step toward a shared understanding of the threats.

As governments struggle to mount a serious defenses, the open source movement may be our best hope. We have a lot of catching up to do.