Sockpuppets Spin COVID Yarns: An Analysis of PRC-Attributed June 2020 Twitter takedown


On June 11, 2020, Twitter announced the takedown of a collection of 23,750 accounts attributed to the People’s Republic of China (PRC), with technical indicators linking the operation to the same actor responsible for the network of 200,000 accounts suspended in August 2019. Most of the 23,750 accounts in this disclosure were caught relatively quickly and thus failed to gain traction on the platform. Twitter’s assessment of the operation notes that these accounts were themselves part of a larger network, the remainder of which primarily served to retweet the core; the amplifiers were not included in the public takedown data set.