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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
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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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Twitter CEO Counters the Criticism From The New York Times

Picking out a quote where Haberman said people were tweeting more and she felt she had to check in more frequently lest she miss something, the CEO said this is why the "show me the best tweets first" feature exists, a feature that is hated by many users.

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Throughout his thread, Dorsey brings up "identifying credibility" a couple of times. Pixabay

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey hit back at Maggie Haberman — a New York Times journalist — who wrote about her break from the app, explaining why it has become an unbearable experience for her and others.

In Haberman’s Friday’s tweet, she describes how Twitter has gotten worse and worse in many regards over the years, developing into an unreliable source filled with toxic interactions and bitter criticism, Mashable reported on Saturday.

Replying to her on Saturday, Dorsey responded to specific points that Haberman made in a thread.

Picking out a quote where Haberman said people were tweeting more and she felt she had to check in more frequently lest she miss something, the CEO said this is why the “show me the best tweets first” feature exists, a feature that is hated by many users.

He then cherry-picked another part of Haberman’s piece that said, “Twitter is still an important source for news”, which the Twitter CEO of course agreed on, and then had a vaguely self-deprecating response to a quote in which Haberman said “Twitter is not a good platform to have meaningful discussions”.

Also Read-Report: Twitter Suspending Fake Accounts at Rate That Could Risk User Growth

Throughout his thread, Dorsey brings up “identifying credibility” a couple of times, which may refer to changing how the verification system works so it’s not just for prominent names, people in media, and white supremacists, or maybe being more selective. (IANS)

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