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

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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Twitter reportedly working on Snap-like ad feature

The company reported $87 million in data licensing and other non-advertising revenue, up 10 percent from a year earlier

Twitter to soon release Snapchat like feature. VOA
Twitter to soon release Snapchat like feature. VOA
  • Twitter is working on a camera-first feature
  • This feature is similar to that of Snapchat
  • This can cause a clash between the two apps

Twitter is reportedly working on a camera-first feature that will let advertisers combine location-based photos and videos with “Twitter Moments” — curated stories about whats happening around — to sponsor events or place ads in between tweeted posts, media reported. According to a report in CNBC on Thursday, the move is seen to rival Snap Inc. which has been popular with advertisers.

Twitter will now also have the camera-first feature.

“With this change, the emphasis on the platform would change from text to video and images, giving advertisers a competitor to one of Snap’s most popular advertising opportunities,” three senior agency executives familiar with the development were quoted as saying in the report.

Snap collects location-based snaps around certain topics and displays them together as a highlighted post on its Discover tab — a feature that has proven popular with advertisers. Twitter’s feature would work in a similar way in Twitter Moments.

However, it is unclear when the feature would launch and it could still be refined significantly or scrapped entirely, the report said. Twitter has been going after new advertising business after it posted its first profit.

Also Read: Facebook, Twitter Urged to Do More to Police Hate on Sites

The company reported $87 million in data licensing and other non-advertising revenue, up 10 percent from a year earlier.

Ad revenue rose one percent to $644 million. Twitter reported a net profit of $91.1 million, compared to a loss of $167.1 million, a year earlier. IANS

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