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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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Twitter India Unveils Special Tricolor India Gate Emoji To Celebrate 71st Republic Day

This is the fifth year Twitter has supported Republic Day in India with a custom emoji

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The social media platform Twitter also supports Independence Day, Diwali, Republic Day, Gandhi Jayanti among other key milestones and events, with innovative emojis that are designed keeping Indian culture and sentiment in mind, it said. Pixabay

 Twitter India on Friday launched a specially designed emoji of the India Gate lit up in the tricolour to celebrate India’s 71st Republic Day.

According to Twitter India, President Ram Nath Kovind will be tweeting with this emoji on January 25 during his address to the nation, as citizens across the country take to Twitter to participate in a public conversation.

“We believe that the 2020 Republic Day emoji will resonate with Indians across languages, cultures and time zones, giving them yet another reason, and way to celebrate and participate in public conversation,” Mahima Kaul, Director, Public Policy, India and South Asia, Twitter India, said in a statement.

The emoji will be live until January 30 and will be available in English as well as ten Indian languages, including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, Urdu and Gurmukhi.

Twitter
Twitter India on Friday launched a specially designed emoji of the India Gate lit up in the tricolour to celebrate India’s 71st Republic Day. IANS

This is the fifth year Twitter has supported Republic Day in India with a custom emoji.

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The social media platform also supports Independence Day, Diwali, Republic Day, Gandhi Jayanti among other key milestones and events, with innovative emojis that are designed keeping Indian culture and sentiment in mind, it said. (IANS)

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