Twitter deleted information wanted by Russia investigators

Investigators worry that information linked to alleged Russian election may have flown away for good after being deleted by Twitter.

The social media company permanently deleted information about account believed to have been involved in Kremlin efforts to swing the election last year, POLITICO reported Friday morning.

Twitter said last month that it had found 201 accounts linked to the same operatives who posted ads on Facebook attempting to inflame tensions over issues such as police brutality and Islam.

But it has been criticized for not being as forthcoming as its Silicon Valley rival, with some saying that they are frustrated by its policy of deleting information.

The network deletes tweets from its collection of data shortly after users delete the messages on their accounts, and requires that other companies with access to its "firehose" of info do so as well.

RELATED: Putting the Trump-Russia timeline into perspective

15 PHOTOS
Putting the Trump-Russia timeline into perspective
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Putting the Trump-Russia timeline into perspective
June 7: The 2016 primary season essentially concludes, with both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as the presumptive party nominees
June 9: Donald Trump Jr. — along with Jared Kushner and former campaign chair Paul Manafort — meets with Kremlin-connected lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
June 9: Trump tweets about Clinton's missing 33,000 emails
July 18: Washington Post reports, on the first day of the GOP convention, that the Trump campaign changed the Republican platform to ensure that it didn't call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces
July 21: GOP convention concludes with Trump giving his speech accepting the Republican nomination
July 22: WikiLeaks releases stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee
July 25: Democratic convention begins
July 27: In final news conference of his 2016 campaign, Trump asks Russia: "If you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing"
August 4: Obama CIA Director John Brennan confronts his Russian counterpart about Russia's interference. "[I] told him if you go down this road, it's going to have serious consequences, not only for the bilateral relationship, but for our ability to work with Russia on any issue, because it is an assault on our democracy," Brennan said on "Meet the Press" yesterday.
October 4: WikiLeaks' Julian Assange says his organization will publish emails related to the 2016 campaign
October 7: WikiLeaks begins releasing Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta's emails
October 7: Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence release a statement directly saying that Russia is interfering in the 2016 election
October 31: "This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove," Trump says on the campaign trail
November 4: "Boy, I love reading those WikiLeaks," Trump says from Ohio.
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Twitter also only gives a short window where information can be recalled after an account holder deletes his or her account.

"Should bot operators and people who spread hate and abuse have the right to remove content from the public domain? Twitter says yes, and I think it's a scandal," Johns Hopkins professor Thomas Rid told POLITICO.

It was not immediately clear how much deleted information investigators would like, though sources told the outlet that engineers are looking at ways to recover "pockets" of it.

Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg originally downplayed any role his creation may have had in the election, though his company has since publicly acknowledge that 10 million users viewed ads bought by suspected Kremlin-backed actors.

The reach of non-paid posts from close to 500 suspected fake pages is believed to be much larger.

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