Twitter says it found more than 10 million posts by 'potentially state-backed' Iranian and Russian accounts dating back to 2009

  • Twitter had previously identified Iran and Russia as the source of fake accounts and coordinated misinformation campaigns, but had largely limited the scope to around the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the upcoming midterm elections.
  • The social media site will now shed light on the accounts' actions starting years earlier.
  • The company released archived versions of posts Wednesday.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is seated prior to testifying before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on foreign influence operations on social media platforms on Capitol Hill in Washington, September 5, 2018. 
Joshua Roberts | Roberts
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is seated prior to testifying before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on foreign influence operations on social media platforms on Capitol Hill in Washington, September 5, 2018. 

Twitter said Wednesday that it found more than 10 million posts by Iran and Russia-backed accounts dating back to 2009 — and it's releasing archives of the posts to the general public.

Twitter had previously identified Iran and Russia as the source of fake accounts and coordinated misinformation campaigns, but had largely limited the scope to around the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the upcoming midterm elections.

The social media site will now shed light on the accounts' actions starting years earlier.

The company released archived versions of posts by "3,841 accounts affiliated with the IRA, originating in Russia, and 770 other accounts, potentially originating in Iran. They include more than 10 million Tweets and more than 2 million images, GIFs, videos, and Periscope broadcasts, including the earliest on-Twitter activity from accounts connected with these campaigns, dating back to 2009," the company said in a blog post. IRA refers to the Internet Research Agency, a Russian-backed company.

Twitter says it's releasing the tweets and images to "enable independent academic research and investigation" and to "serve the public conversation."