By Glenn Fleishman
November 6, 2018

Twitter trolls trying to spread disinformation in advance of the midterm election on Nov. 6 have found themselves stymied by Twitter’s more effective monitoring and blocking efforts, NBC News reported, based on conversations in private chatrooms used for planning these campaigns.

One chat participant realized their account was blocked after they tried to post that the election was on Nov. 7, the day after the actual polling date—a tactic that has an extensive history in the analog world as well.

Twitter announced that it had removed 10,000 “bot” or automated accounts on Nov. 1 that were designed to seem like Democrats encouraging people to refrain from voting in the midterm elections. Reuters indicated that those accounts were largely identified by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and reported to Twitter.

Nonetheless, this could be a positive sign that Twitter continues to make efforts to reduce the presence of accounts deliberately spreading false information. In a company blog post Oct. 1, Twitter described a series of efforts it has taken to try to reduce misleading and outright fake election-related posts and accounts.

Twitter and Facebook have received harsh criticism about not identifying and rooting out coordinated campaigns by individuals and bots to use disinformation to affect political outcomes or incite violence. Facebook apologized in August and September for its failure to quickly remove material that led to widespread violence and killings in Myanmar.

NBC News saw messages in private chats after a reporter accidentally received invitations to join a Discord forum, a discussion platform used for gaming and many other purposes, and direct messaging groups on Twitter.

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