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    Available Expert - Twitter deletes tweets and user data potentially crucial to Russia investigation

    Friday, October 13, 2017

    Queen’s University technology expert David Skillicorn is available to comment on reports that Twitter has deleted tweets and user data of potentially great value to investigators looking into Russian meddling with the 2016 U.S. election.

    “It's quite unlikely that tweets generated by the Russian disinformation campaign have been lost,” says Dr. Skillicorn. “First, presumably Twitter backs up its data and it would be messy and time-consuming to go back and selectively delete small portions. Second, the election was of interest to intelligence agencies around the world so I expect they were collecting tweets related to the election."

    “Lastly, there are many academic groups interested in election politics and many of them will have been collecting election-related tweets via the Twitter API and saving them for research purposes,” says Dr. Skillicorn. “This doesn’t mean that the various US investigations can get access to them, but I highly doubt that this information is actually gone.”

    Dr. Skillicorn is only available today by phone or Skype.

    To arrange an interview, please contact communications officer Dave Rideout (613.533.6000 ext. 79648, 613.453.5676, or dave.rideout@queensu.ca) or Anne Craig (613.533.2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, ON, Canada.

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