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Micro-blogging site Twitter can Track and Detect Riots Faster than Police: Study

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London, June 27, 2017: With people increasingly taking to the social media, especially Twitter, to report or update events, observations and occurrences, new research says the micro-blogging site can track and detect major disruptive events faster than the police.

The study showed that computer systems using a series of machine-learning algorithms could automatically scan through tweets and detect serious incidents, such as breaking into a shop or setting cars alight, before they were reported to the police.

The computer system could also discern information about where the riots were rumoured to take place and where groups of youths were gathering.

On average the computer systems could pick up on the disruptive events several minutes before officials could. In some cases even over an hour ahead of the security personnel, the researchers said in the paper published in the journal ACM Transactions on Internet Technology.

“We will never replace traditional policing resource on the ground but we have demonstrated that this research could augment existing intelligence gathering and draw on new technologies to support more established policing methods,” said Pete Burnap from Cardiff University.

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Estimates put social media membership at approximately 2.5 billion non-unique users, and the data produced by these users have been used to predict elections, movie revenues and even the epicentre of earthquakes.

The study could enable police officers to better manage and prepare for both large and small scale disruptive events, the researchers added.

“We have previously used machine-learning and natural language processing on Twitter data to better understand online deviance, such as the spread of antagonistic narratives and cyber hate,” Burnap said.

For the study, the team analysed 1.6 million tweets related to the 2011 riots in England, which began as an isolated incident in Tottenham on August 6 but quickly spread across London and to other cities in England.

The researchers used a series of machine-learning algorithms to analyse each of the tweets from the dataset, taking into account a number of key features such as the time they were posted, the location where they were posted and the content of the tweet itself. (IANS)

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Micro-blogging Site Twitter to Audit Developers Using Data From App

Twitter says it suspended 1,62,000 apps in the second half of 2018, showing it is willing to play hardball with developers that endanger its ecosystem

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

Micro-blogging site Twitter has decided to audit app developers who use data from its platform, as business and research boosting tools to make sure it gets paid for the information delivered.

Starting June 19, developers that use recent tweets from or mention a user more than 100,000 times per day, will have to submit their apps to Twitter for review.

“The goal is ensuring that our platform is safe and promoting the privacy and safety of our users, and providing a level playing field commercially,” TechCrunch quoted Yoel Roth, Head of site integrity, Twitter as saying on Tuesday.

Developers found to be violating Twitter’s policies would be booted from the platform, while those who fail to file for review will be capped at 100,000 requests per day for the user timeline and mentions application programming interfaces (APIs) of Twitter.

“We’re fundamentally different than other platforms that have APIs since almost everything that happens on our service is public,” Roth explained.

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FILE – A man reads tweets on his phone in front of a displayed Twitter logo. VOA

Developers who use Twitter data as business tools for customer services or social media monitoring, will have to pay and enter a commercial licencing agreement with the platform with an undisclosed custom price-range based on usage.

“Twitter refused to even specify the range those prices fall into, which won’t win it any extra trust,” the report said.

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If a developer in question presents legitimate consumer-use cases, like running a third-party Twitter client or doing research, it will be granted free access to the API at the same rate they have today.

Twitter says it suspended 1,62,000 apps in the second half of 2018, showing it is willing to play hardball with developers that endanger its ecosystem, the report added. (IANS)