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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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Election Commission of India Joins Twitter Ahead of LS Polls

Available in 12 languages, the election emoji would feature an image of the Parliament of India

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Twitter, tweets, India
The Twitter logo appears on a phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.. VOA

The Election Commission of India on Friday joined Twitter ahead of the Lok Sabha elections while the micro-blogging site also launched a special election emoji aimed at encouraging participation in election-related discussions, encouraging more people to go and vote.

Available in 12 languages, the election emoji would feature an image of the Parliament of India.

To further raise awareness among voters, the Election Commission of India has launched the “Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation” programme (SVEEP) on the platform.

Twitter, India, Smartphone
Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

“Twitter India welcomes the Election Commission of India’s SVEEP (Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation Program) (@ECISVEEP) onboard the platform,” the company said in a statement.

“India is the world’s largest democracy, and the upcoming election is a key priority for us at Twitter. Over the past several months, we’ve taken significant steps to safeguard the integrity of conversations and enhance the health of our platform. We are honoured to onboard the Election Commission handle to encourage voter education,” Mahima Kaul, Director, Public Policy and Government at Twitter India said.

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“Citizens will receive crucial information directly from the Election Commission on Twitter, in turn they can engage with and amplify accurate and positive information to their community.” (IANS)