Speed Reads

russia probe

The Russia investigation could be in serious trouble because of Twitter's uncompromising privacy policies

A heap of information about how Russia used Twitter to influence the 2016 presidential election is potentially lost forever due to the social media platform's uncompromising privacy policies, Politico reports. As investigators dive deeper into Kremlin efforts to swing the election in favor of President Trump, Twitter is unable to offer firm evidence due to the fact that the company mimics deletions and revisions to information made by its consumers and keeps no lasting record of data that has been intentionally erased.

Because of such rules, the platform is designed perfectly for malicious agents who want to cover their tracks, frustrated investigators say. Twitter "could not have built a more effective disinformation platform," said Johns Hopkins University strategic studies professor Thomas Rid.

If Twitter saved such information, "you can basically see when botnets appeared and disappeared, and how they shaped narrative around certain event," another analyst told Politico. Instead, Twitter "removes forensic evidence from the public domain, and makes the work of investigators more difficult and maybe impossible," Rid said.

"The truth is they don't know who is on their platform, or how bad people are doing bad things," former FBI agent Clint Watts told Politico.