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Computer Scientists find massive collections of Fake Accounts on micro-blogging site Twitter

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FILE - The Twitter logo appears on a screen in Ventura, California. VOA

London, Jan 26, 2017: Computer scientists have found massive collections of fake accounts on the micro-blogging site Twitter, suggesting that one person or a group is managing these accounts. According to a BBC report on Wednesday, the largest network that was found tied together more than 350,000 accounts and further work suggested that others might be even bigger.

As of the third quarter of 2016, the micro-blogging service averaged at 317 million monthly active users. The networks were uncovered accidentally when some researchers were probing Twitter to see how people use it. Some of the accounts were used to fake follower numbers, send spam and boost interest in trending topics.

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On Twitter, bots are accounts that are run remotely by someone who automates the messages they send and activities they carry out. Some people pay to get bots to follow their account or to dilute chatter about controversial subjects.

“It is difficult to assess exactly how many Twitter users are bots,” Juan Echeverria, computer scientist at University College London (UCL) who uncovered the massive networks was quoted as saying.

Echeverria’s analysis revealed that lots of linked accounts, suggesting one person or group is running the botnet. These accounts did not act like the bots other researchers had found but were clearly not being run by humans.

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A botnet is a network of private computers infected with malicious software and controlled as a group without the owners’ knowledge.

The network of 350,000 bots were linked because it was found that the tweets were coming from places where nobody lives, messages were being posted only from Windows phones and the tweets were quotes from Star Wars novels, the report added. (IANS)

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No Diwali, Birthday Celebrations for Amitabh Bachchan This Year

The Bollywood took to Twitter to reveal his plans to his followers

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Amitabh Bachchan
Amitabh Bachchan. Wikimedia

Mumbai, October 8, 2017 : Megastar Amitabh Bachchan says this year he will not be celebrating the festival of lights Diwali or his 75th birthday, which falls on October 11.

Though Big B didn’t give the reason, his daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s father Krishnaraj Rai passed away in March after several days of illness.

“India thrash Australia in T20, Pink Panthers’ extraordinary convincing win, thunderstorm cancels shoot, 30 million on Twitter, and just for your information… no Diwali celebration this year,” Amitabh tweeted on Saturday night.

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Twitter to Double its Character Limit to 280 Characters ; Here is What Twitterati has to say!

Cannot fit your tweet into 140 characters? Worry not; Twitter may soon allow you to tweet using 280 characters!

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Twitter
Twitter is now giving its users more characters to express themselves. Wikimedia

California, September 27, 2017: We all can understand the aggravation of being unable to convey our thoughts on Twitter, courtesy its 140 character-constraint. However, in an astonishing move, Twitter has decided to increase the character limit on tweets to enable its users to convey more information and meaning.

The micro-blogging site that previously allowed users to tweet using 140 characters will now allow them to convey meaning in a whopping 280 characters- double the previous limit.

“This is a small change, but a big move for us”, believes the chief executive of Twitter, Jack Dorsey.

The decision came following a research previously carried out by Twitter that revealed that double the amount of information per character could be in conveyed in a variety of languages like Chinese, Japanese and Korean than what users could in English, Spanish or French among others. This was a growing cause of frustration among Twitter users from the latter language clusters.

The research thus led to the decision to roll out this new attribute.

However, not every Twitter user will be able to avail this service just yet. Twitter is currently testing the new attribute only with a small division of its 328 million clients before choosing whether to dispatch the feature for everybody.

As soon as the social media giant made their formal announcement about the 280 character expansion on September 26, internet reactions were swift and mostly negative, questioning the irrelevant character change.

This is how Twitterati reacted to the latest change,

ALSO READ Twitter Bots can Help Trigger and Promote Good Behavior, says a New Research

While users have been increasingly questioning the new move and calling it ‘unnecessary’, the official announcement from Twitter accepted that the new 280-character move is only aimed at creating a more inclusive and equal platform for users of different languages. The announcement also reiterated that Twitter is synonymous with brevity and “that is something we will never change.”

Over the past years, users have been witnessing multiple changes in Twitter’s 140-character constraint.  In a previous move earlier this year, the micro-blogging site had removed @ replies from its limits and exempted photos, videos and quotes. This new move is now being hailed as another exemption of the character restrictions.

 

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Chinese internet service providers started blocking access to WhatsApp.

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Whatsapp messaging platform
Image: IANS

San Francisco, Sep 26 (IANS) Instant messaging service WhatsApp has been largely blocked in China, the media reported.

The Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), a global observation network for detecting censorship, surveillance and traffic manipulation, suggested on Monday night that Chinese internet service providers started blocking access to WhatsApp on September 23, reports CNN.

Public reports on Twitter indicated that WhatsApp, which is owned by the US-based social media giant Facebook, became inaccessible for some people on September 19.

Over the last few months, there were a number of WhatsApp disruptions in China.

However, WhatsApp has not made an official announcement on the development.

China has already blocked access to a number of internet companies, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google.

Some people access these services through virtual private networks (VPN), or with tools that disguise internet traffic to circumvent censorship. But the Chinese government has launched a crack down on VPNs this year.

According to Timothy Heath, senior international defence research analyst at the RAND Corporation, the Chinese government does not like that WhatsApp uses strong encryption.

“The government wants to monitor internet communications, and therefore it’s trying to steer its people to use technology that can be accessed and monitored by the government,” Heath told CNN.

Earlier this month, WeChat, a popular chat service in China, notified users of its policies to comply with government requests for information. (ians)