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Twitter Still Remains a Hotbed For Accounts Spreading Fake News: Study

Sixty-five percent of fake and conspiracy news links during the election period went to just the 10 largest sites, a statistic unchanged six months later

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Twitter India celebrates rising women achievers. Pixabay

Twitter still remains a hotbed for accounts spreading fake news, suggests a new study that looked into how fake and conspiracy news flourished on the microblogging site both before and after the 2016 US presidential election.

More than 80 per cent of the Twitter accounts linked to spread of disinformation during the 2016 election are still active, said the study by the Knight Foundation on Thursday.

These accounts continue to publish more than a million tweets in a typical day, the study said.

Using tools and mapping methods from Graphika, a social media intelligence firm, the researchers studied more than 10 million tweets from 700,000 Twitter accounts that linked to more than 600 fake and conspiracy news outlets.

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 on their platforms during the 2016 election.

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

Twitter
Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

To further protect the integrity of elections, Twitter earlier this week announced that it will now delete fake accounts engaged in a variety of emergent, malicious behaviours.

As platform manipulation tactics continue to evolve, the micro-blogging platform said it is expanding rules to better reflect how it identifies fake accounts and what types of inauthentic activity violate its guidelines before the US mid-term elections in November.

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

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The Knight Foundation study found more than 6.6 million tweets linking to fake and conspiracy news publishers in the month before the 2016 election.

Yet disinformation continues to be a substantial problem postelection, with 4.0 million tweets linking to fake and conspiracy news publishers found in a 30-day period from mid-March to mid-April 2017, the study said.

Twitter CEO
Twitter on a smartphone device. VOA

Sixty-five percent of fake and conspiracy news links during the election period went to just the 10 largest sites, a statistic unchanged six months later.

“Machine Learning models estimate that 33 percent of the 100 most-followed accounts in our postelection map — and 63 percent of a random sample of all accounts — are “bots,” or automated accounts,” the study said.

“Because roughly 15 per cent of accounts in the postelection map have since been suspended, the true proportion of automated accounts may have exceeded 70 per cent,” it added. (IANS)

Next Story

Twitter’s New Tool Will Help Reporting Misleading Information About Voting

The rules will also include misleading information about requirements for voting, including identification requirements, misleading statements or information about the official announced date or time of an election.

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So if you see misleading information about how to vote or register to vote, including those that suggest that one can vote by tweet, text message, email, or phone call, you will be able to report such information for review from within the platform. Pixabay

In an attempt to bar people from using its services for the purpose of manipulating the Lok Sabha elections, Twitter on Wednesday announced a new feature to make it easier for users to report misleading information about voting.

The new feature will come into effect in India from Thursday, Twitter said.

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The new tool is in addition to its existing approach to tackling malicious automation and other forms of platform manipulation on the service, Twitter said. Pixabay

So if you see misleading information about how to vote or register to vote, including those that suggest that one can vote by tweet, text message, email, or phone call, you will be able to report such information for review from within the platform.

The rules will also include misleading information about requirements for voting, including identification requirements, misleading statements or information about the official announced date or time of an election.

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Twitter on Wednesday announced a new feature to make it easier for users to report misleading information about voting.
Pixabay

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The platform will start with the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in India and the European Parliament elections and then roll out to other elections globally throughout the rest of the year, Twitter said in a statement.

The new tool is in addition to its existing approach to tackling malicious automation and other forms of platform manipulation on the service, Twitter said. (IANS)