Over a half million Twitter users are about to be on the receiving end of an inbox surprise.
No, not the news of an unexpected verification. Nor something more prosaic, such as their unwitting participation in a new feature test group. Rather, Twitter will be dropping a little email truth bomb: You got played by a Russian troll army.
In a Friday blog post, the social media giant said it plans to inform 677,775 people who, over the course of the 2016 presidential “election period,” followed, liked, or retweeted accounts “potentially” connected to the now infamous Internet Research Agency.
“In total, during the time period we investigated, the 3,814 identified IRA-linked accounts posted 175,993 Tweets, approximately 8.4% of which were election-related,” Twitter explained in its blog post.
This is all part of Twitter’s continued efforts to notify both the public and elected officials of just how far Russian-connected groups went to influence the 2016 presidential election via social media.
“[We] have identified 13,512 additional accounts, for a total of 50,258 automated accounts that we identified as Russian-linked and Tweeting election-related content during the election period,” the company added, “representing approximately two one-hundredths of a percent (0.016%) of the total accounts on Twitter at the time.”
I’ve been tough with Twitter on this, but I’m encouraged to see the company beginning to take responsibility and notify its users of Russia’s influence campaign on its platform. https://t.co/abAdbHWatI
— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) January 19, 2018
All the suspicious accounts in question have been suspended, noted Twitter’s blog post.
As to what those notification emails will say, and whether they will detail the exact troll content users engaged with, remains a mystery. We reached out to the company for a sample email, but that request went unacknowledged as of press time. However, 677,775 Twitter users should be finding out soon enough.
Whether or not those receiving the notification emails will take it as a lesson to be a tad bit more skeptical in their future social media dealings remains to be seen, but here’s hoping.