Twitter removes KCL student’s Twitter account thinking he’s a Chinese agent

But he says he’s never been to China


A King's student's Twitter account was removed by the website for allegedly undermining protest efforts in Hong Kong.

Twitter announced on Monday it would be removing over 900 accounts creating discord among protestors, a campaign it says was spear-headed by the state.

24-year-old Luka Ivezic, who studies at King's, ran an account called @TechPoliticist. He told the BBCit concentrates on "disinformation, and how artificial intelligence can empower the tools that China and Russia have to misinform us." The account was identified as being run from China, although Luka says he has never visited the country in his life.

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Luka told the BBC: "It is a bit ironic that something like this would happen to me."

Twitter said four of Luka's tweets about Artificial Intelligence, bitcoin, and other tech news, were flagged.

Luka's account was later removed from the public list to protect his privacy, but Twitter stood by its decision.

A spokesperson for Twitter told the BBC: "After further investigation with our team, we've confirmed the account was compromised and tied to the disinformation network noted in yesterday's disclosure."

Luka's account had already been suspended in May, before protests in Hong Kong began.

Documents released by Twitter maintain "extensive" investigations were conducted into the 936 accounts which were eventually removed, adding: "We have reliable evidence to support that this is a coordinated state-backed operation."

Luka's father told the BBC his son is currently in the process of interviewing for tech jobs. He said: "Any of his target employers would have extensive background checks and this would come out.

"Even with a solid explanation, some might decide that the risk of there being some truth in Twitter’s reporting is not worth the trouble."

Luka and his father co-author a blog about the impacts of technology titled: "Future of Leadership." Luka's father said the likely reason for the suspension was the fake followers he bought for both himself and his son in an effort to grow their accounts.

Buying followers is against Twitter's terms of use, as networks of bots can be used to drive propaganda, and can be sold on for other uses.

Elise Thomas, who works at the International Cyber Policy Centre in Australia, told The BBC: "From going through the datasets Twitter has released, it doesn’t seem like Twitter were particularly precise.

"There’s a lot of chaff in this wheat, so to speak, and some of it seems to have little or no connection to the protests."