As Russia began a military strike against Ukraine on Thursday, reports surfaced that Twitter blocked several accounts of researchers sharing footage and other information about the Russian invasion.
Several researchers sharing Russia-Ukraine information found their Twitter accounts unexpectedly suspended.
“I am back again after having been locked out twice in 24 hours. First time for a post debunking the “foiled sabotage/gas attack” and a second time for a post debunking the “Ukrainian attack into Russia,” said Oliver Alexander, an analyst with open-source intelligence (OSINT),
“@Twitter needs to do something against these locks now,” he posted on Twitter.
OSINT researcher Kyle Glen was also locked out of his account for 12 hours, according to tweets from Glen and a post shared by another OSINT organization.
Security analyst Oliver Alexander also claimed to have been locked out of his account twice in 24 hours, reports The Verge.
Twitter thread compiled by Nick Waters, an analyst at the pioneering OSINT organization Bellingcat, listed more account suspensions.
In a statement, a Twitter spokesperson said that action had been taken against these accounts in error and was not part of a coordinated campaign.
“We’re expeditiously reviewing these actions and have already proactively reinstated access to a number of affected accounts. The claims that the errors were a coordinated bot campaign or the result of mass reporting is inaccurate,” the company spokesperson added.
Researchers raised concerns that the account suspension could have been part of a mass reporting campaign intended to disable OSINT accounts during a Russian invasion.
“What really worries me the most (and IMO was demonstrated today) is that any Russian invasion will almost certainly include some form of mass reporting in order to disable smaller OSINT accounts,” said OSINTtechnical.