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Twitter used by illegal online pharmacies to pedal drugs

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New York: Illegal online pharmacies are using Twitter to promote prescription drug abuse of controlled substances.

“This study is the first to establish an empirical link between Twitter content and illicit online pharmacies which promote the illegal sale of drugs that have significant abuse potential,” said study co-author Timothy Mackey from University of California-San Diego.

“Our results are concerning, as the study found over 45,000 tweets that promoted drug abuse even though we only looked at a two-week period of tweets,” Mackey added.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), young adults are the biggest abusers of prescription opioid pain relievers, ADHD stimulants, and anti-anxiety drugs.

The study conducted surveillance and content analysis of over two million tweets using the Twitter public streaming application programming interface and used assisted machine learning.

Tweets were analysed to determine if they discussed drug abuse issues, whether they favourably promoted drug abuse behaviour, and were also examined to see if they directly enabled the illegal access to controlled substances by online pharmacies.

Mackey said the study findings are extremely troubling.

“When we examined links included in a subset of the tweets that discussed drug abuse, we discovered that 76 percent of these tweets included a link to an online marketing affiliate advertising the sale of the controlled substance valium, a tranquillizer that is commonly abused,” he said.

Buying prescription drugs from illegal online pharmacies also endanger consumers financial information, putting them at risk of identity theft, according to experts.

The study was published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR). (IANS) (image courtesy:wsjgadjets.ndtv.com)

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World Emoji Day: Apple, Facebook, Twitter Celebrate with New Emojis

US-based Internet domain registrar GoDaddy claimed to have seen a growth in visual pun emoji domains and major brands using emoji domains for their webpages

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Twitter has been actively introducing a variety of culture, entertainment, sports and news related emojis that range from iconic symbols to historic signs and motifs of festivals. (IANS)

Apple, Facebook, Twitter and other tech giants celebrated World Emoji Day on Tuesday with declaring most used and favourite emojis, announcement of new ones, acknowledging how emojis make conversataions easy and expressive without words, among others.

Apple announced over 70 new emoji characters with hair colour variations, gender-neutral characters, mythical creatures and more that would reach the users as part of a free update that Apple would bring to iOS 12 later this year, the iPhone maker wrote in a blog post.

Facebook and Messenger shared statistics and revealed that the “heart” emoji is one of the most used expression on the platforms.

“There are more than 2,800 emojis and almost all of them (2,300) are used each and every day on Facebook,” the company said in a statement.

The social networking giant also announced that new emojis, including a camera frame and a themed text feature would soon be part of Facebook and Messenger.

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Facebook and Messenger shared statistics and revealed that the “heart” emoji is one of the most used expression on the platforms. Pixabay

From being used only for creative expression by the millennials, to being Oxford dictionary’s “Word of the year 2015,” emojis are now also being embraced by brands across the globe.

Microblogging site Twitter also released a list of the top ten emojis used on its platform that included the “heart, fire, thumbs up and heart eyes” smileys.

“Keeping in mind the popularity of emojis, Twitter has been actively introducing a variety of culture, entertainment, sports and news related emojis that range from iconic symbols to historic signs and motifs of festivals,” Twitter said.

Also Read: Facebook Joins Skill India Mission to Train Empower youth

US-based Internet domain registrar GoDaddy claimed to have seen a growth in visual pun emoji domains and major brands using emoji domains for their webpages.

“Today, emojis have become an essential part of the online vocabulary. Driven by the rise of mobile internet usage in India, consumers are integrating emojis into their conversations with each other as well as with brands,” said Nikhil Arora, Managing Director and VP, GoDaddy India. (IANS)

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