Tuesday November 13, 2018
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Twitter Goes After Spams and Trolls, Some Users to Lose Followers

To make it harder to register spam accounts, Twitter will now require new accounts to confirm either an email address or phone number when they sign up to the platform

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Twitter records 10 mn tweets on US midterms. Pixabay
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To address the problem of increasing spam accounts and trolls on its platform, Twitter has introduced tough policies that will soon see some users losing fake followers globally.

In May, Twitter identified and challenged more than 9.9 million potentially “spammy” or automated accounts per week — up from 6.4 million in December and 3.2 million in September 2017.

Twitter said late Tuesday that it will take further action to challenge a large number of suspected spam accounts globally.

As a result of these improvements, some people may notice their own account metrics change more regularly.

“This is an important shift in how we display Tweet and account information to ensure that malicious actors aren’t able to artificially boost an account’s credibility permanently by inflating metrics like the number of followers,” Twitter said in a blog post.

Some people may see their follower counts drop but this does not mean they did anything wrong, the company said.

To make it harder to register spam accounts, Twitter will now require new accounts to confirm either an email address or phone number when they sign up to the platform.

“This is an important change to defend against people who try to take advantage of our openness,” Twitter said in a blog post.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

“Due to technology and process improvements during the past year, we are now removing 214 per cent more accounts for violating our spam policies on a year-on-year basis,” it added.

Twitter saw a drop in the average number of spam reports — from an average of approximately 25,000 per day in March, to approximately 17,000 per day in May.

“We’ve also seen a 10 per cent drop in spam reports from search as a result of our recent changes. These decreases in reports received means people are encountering less spam in their timeline, search, and across the Twitter product,” the company said.

Twitter currently has 330 million user accounts.

“We’re also moving rapidly to curb spam and abuse originating via Twitter’s APIs. In Q1 2018, we suspended more than 142,000 applications in violation of our rules — collectively responsible for more than 130 million low-quality, spammy tweets,” the blog post said.

Also Read: Facebook and Twitter Account Blocks Without Notice: Hezbollah

To reduce the visibility of suspicious accounts in Tweet and account metrics, the company said it has started updating account metrics in near-real time.

“For example, the number of followers an account has, or the number of likes or Retweets a Tweet receives, will be correctly updated when we take action on accounts,” it added.

Twitter is also automating some processes where it sees suspicious account activity, like exceptionally high-volume tweeting with the same hashtag, or using the same @handle without a reply from the account a user has mentioned.

Twitter said it will continue to invest in leveraging Machine Learning (ML) technology and partnerships with third parties. (IANS)

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Twitter Takes Multiple Steps To Curb Misinformation Before Elections in India

More than 80 per cent of the Twitter accounts linked to spread of disinformation

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

Twitter is taking “multi-variable” steps, including the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, to curb the spread of misleading information on its platform ahead of 2019 general election in India, Co-Founder and CEO Jack Dorsey said here on Monday.

Addressing a Town Hall-style meeting at the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi (IIT-D), Dorsey said fake news is a way too big category.

“The real problem is not misinformation per se as jokes can also be categorised as misinfomation. But misinformation that is spread with the intent to mislead people is a real problem,” stressed the Twitter CEO who is in India on a week-long maiden visit.

Dorsey, who got a rousing reception at IIT-D with the students wildly cheering the young entrepreneur, likened solving the problem of misleading information to that of addressing a security issue, or building a lock.

Twitter, India
Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on foreign influence operations and their use of social media on Capitol Hill. VOA

“No one can build a perfect lock, but we need to stay ahead of our attackers. AI could probably help,” Dorsey told the audience.

Earlier in the day, the Twitter CEO met Congress President Rahul Gandhi and discussed various steps the social network was taking to curb the spread of fake news and boost healthy conversation on its platform.

Dorsey also met Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama over the weekend. He was also expected to meet Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in the wake of the growing criticism over Twitter’s role in the spread of misinformation and fake news as India faces Assembly polls in five states in November-December ahead of next year’s general elections.

Twitter, India
Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

Twitter, along with other social media platforms, including Facebook, came under intense scrutiny of policymakers in the US for their failure to stop the spread of misinformation by Russia-linked accounts on their platforms during the 2016 Presidential election.

The micro-blogging site since then has stepped up its efforts to curb the spread of divisive messages and fake news on its platform.

To further protect the integrity of elections, Twitter recently announced that it would now delete fake accounts engaged in a variety of emergent, malicious behaviour.

India, elections
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses the gathering during the ‘Global Mobility Summit’ in New Delhi, India, VOA

As part of the new rules, accounts that deliberately mimic or are intended to replace accounts that were previously suspended for violating rules may be identified as fake accounts, Twitter said recently.

Also Read: Twitter Giving Its Users More Freedom to Report Fake, Suspicious Accounts

However, according to a Knight Foundation study released in October, more than 80 per cent of the Twitter accounts linked to spread of disinformation during the 2016 US election are still active. (IANS)