Sunday June 16, 2019
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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
Twitter India celebrates rising women achievers. Pixabay

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.

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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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Social Media Users at Twitter, Instagram Go ‘Blue’ in Support of Sudan

The Army cracked down on the demonstrators and destroyed the encampment, the nerve centre of the protest that led to the overthrow of long-running President Omar al-Bashir on April 11

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Facebook, Messenger and Instagram apps are displayed on an iPhone, March 13, 2019, in New York. VOA

In a bid to raise awareness about the current volatile situation in Sudan, social media users in large numbers have turned their profile picture blue.

While some Twitter and Instagram users have made the profile picture circle appear solid blue, others posted a solid blue square as an image. Some have done both.

Instagram has so far recorded close to 18,000 posts with the hashtag #BlueForSudan.

“It is time to stand hand in hand. Their voices must be heard. #BlueForSudan,” wrote one Twitter user.

“Ignorance is worse than violence.. Stand with Humanity, Stand with #sudan #BlueForSudan,” wrote another.

Some users have also posted the drawing of a crying woman wearing a hijab to draw attention to the political crisis in the north African country.

The violence in Sudan followed a couple of months after the ouster of long-running President Omar al-Bashir on April 11.

UN Chief, Sudan Protesters
Sudanese protesters use burning tires to erect a barricade on a street, demanding that the country’s Transitional Military Council hand over power to civilians, in Khartoum, Sudan, June 3, 2019. VOA

The trigger for social media users to turn blue was the death of a young man who was allegedly killed during a crackdown on protesters on June 3.

“Those who are taking part in spreading #BlueForSudan. The colour blue came from a warm hearted, martyr known as, Mohammed Hashim Mattar, my cousin who has passed away on the 3rd of June, as he was standing proud. Blue was his fav colour, which now presents unity. Mattar’s Blue,” tweeted one user.

To honour his death, Mattar’s friends and family put up the blue colour on their profiles, but others soon followed.

The Sudanese government last Thursday said that 46 people were killed in “recent events” that began with an assault on a protest camp earlier this week in the capital Khartoum, while the opposition Committee of Doctors said at least 108 people had died.

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In what was the first official death toll since a military crackdown on a camp that had been set up for two months, the Sudanese Undersecretary for the Health Ministry, Suleiman Abdul Jabbar, said in a statement that the toll had not reached 100, Efe news reported.

Sudanese security forces last Monday raided an encampment that had been set up in front of the Army headquarters since April 6 and began firing to clear the area.

The Army cracked down on the demonstrators and destroyed the encampment, the nerve centre of the protest that led to the overthrow of long-running President Omar al-Bashir on April 11. (IANS)