Twitter responds to Ukraine crisis with tips on deleting account

Twitter advised users to be careful about disclosing personal information, and to disable tweet location data. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG, AFP) - Twitter issued advice on using its service in conflict zones or high-risk areas after Russian forces attacked targets across Ukraine on Thursday (Feb 24).

The tweet thread, articulating best practices for security in English and Ukrainian, included a suggestion to deactivate accounts if that proved to be the safest approach.

The company urged users to employ two-factor authentication, strong passwords and e-mail and phone number confirmations for actions such as password resets.

It advised users to be careful about disclosing personal information, and to disable tweet location data.

Like Facebook and YouTube, the platform is regularly accused of being slow to respond to political tumult and state-sponsored misinformation campaigns in the past. But Twitter has fewer human and financial resources than its Silicon Valley neighbours to curb the harmful phenomenon.

In 2020, the company removed tens of thousands of accounts engaged in propaganda that were linked to Russia, China and Turkey.

On Wednesday, Twitter acknowledged that it suspended in error some accounts relaying information about Russian military movements as the threat builds for an attack on Ukraine.

The social network has begun restoring access to the users, which were taken down due to "our work to proactively address manipulated media", tweeted the platform's head of site integrity Yoel Roth.

A company spokesman said earlier claims that the accounts were taken offline by a coordinated campaign or mass complaints were untrue.

"We took enforcement action on a number of accounts in error," the spokesman added. "We're expeditiously reviewing these actions and have already proactively reinstated access to a number of affected accounts."

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