Twitter has released a data store of posts from 3,841 accounts that have been identified as being connected to the Internet Research Agency (IRA), the Russian “troll factory” that used Twitter and Facebook to conduct an “influence campaign” aimed at causing political turmoil during the 2016 US presidential election as well as undermining the political process in other countries, including Germany and Ukraine. The company has also released another set of data connected to 770 accounts believed to be connected to an Iranian influence campaign.
Totaling over 360 gigabytes—including more than 10 million tweets and associated metadata and over 2 million images, animated GIFs, videos, and Periscope streams—the data store provides a picture of how state-sponsored agencies have used the Twitter platform. Some of the content dates as far back as 2009.
In a post announcing the release, Twitter Legal, Policy, and Trust & Safety lead Vijaya Gadde and Twitter’s head of Site Integrity Yoel Roth wrote that Twitter was providing the data “with the goal of encouraging open research and investigation of [state-sponsored influence and information campaigns] from researchers and academics around the world.”