Reddit bans 1000 'suspicious' Russian-linked accounts


Reddit banned more than 900 “suspicious” accounts from the online discussion network, Reddit chief executive Steve Huffman said in a post on its website on April 10 as part of an announcement of the platform’s 2017 Transparency Report.

The post said Reddit believed the banned accounts were connected to the Russian Internet Research Agency, which has been called a Russian “troll farm” by the Financial Times and the New Yorker.

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Only a handful of the accounts had a quantifiable impact on users, Huffman said. More than 100 of the banned accounts were removed before the 2016 U.S. presidential election and Reddit didn’t find any “election-related advertisements” on the site like those that were found on other platforms, he added. He also said there was no evidence of any effective use of the accounts to engage in vote manipulation.

The Reddit announcement comes as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg attended Congress to testify about privacy and electoral manipulation following a data breach scandal found that as many as 87 million Facebook accounts had their information harvested and possibly used to sway voters ahead of the 2016 election.

In response to Reddit’s disclosure, vice-chairman of the Senate select committee on intelligence, Senator Mark Warner, said internet firms should be doing “everything in their power” to prevent vote manipulation, and that he would be “pressing” social media companies to respond to the threat of electoral interference ahead of the 2018 United States mid-term elections (Financial Times).

“It’s clear that the Kremlin will use any means at its disposal to spread propaganda and misinformation, and we each bear some responsibility for exercising good judgement and a healthy amount of scepticism when it comes to the things we read and spread on social media,” Senator Warner said.

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