May 28, 2018

Bulgarians tweeting in Cyrillic confused for Russian bots

Some Bulgarians have found their Twitter accounts suspended and tweets hidden because they are thought to be the work of Russian bots, as Russian also uses the Cyrillic alphabet. Bulgarian blogger Ilia Temelkov tweeted, in Cyrillic: "Hey Twitter, the Cyrillic alphabet is used by 12 countries in addition to Russia. Can you get serious? Can you, Twitter?". Speaking at a United States Senate Committee inquiry into extremist content and Russian disinformation online, Twitter's acting general counsel Sean Edgett shed some light on why this might be happening. Logged in to Twitter via a Russian IP address even once. So having a display name containing Cyrillic characters or tweeting in Russian could lead Twitter's algorithms to think the account was possibly automated.

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