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Twitter Takes Strict Actions And Closes Fake Accounts

Twitter is also witnessing a decline in the average number of spam-related reports it receives from users each day.

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

To further protect the integrity of elections, Twitter on Tuesday said 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.

“Some of the factors that we will take into account when determining whether an account is fake include use of stock or stolen avatar photos, use of stolen or copied profile bios and use of intentionally misleading profile information, including profile location,” said Del Harvey, Vice President, Trust and Safety, Twitter, in a blog post.

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

“We are expanding our enforcement approach to include accounts that deliberately mimic or are intended to replace accounts we have previously suspended for violating our rules,” she added.

Twitter has also expanded the criteria for when it will take action on accounts which claim responsibility for a hack, which includes threats and public incentives to hack specific people and accounts.

“In August, we removed approximately 50 accounts misrepresenting themselves as members of various state Republican parties,” informed Yoel Roth, Head of Site Integrity at Twitter.

Twitter
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

“We have also taken action on Tweets sharing media regarding elections and political issues with misleading or incorrect party affiliation information,” he added.

In August, Twitter removed 770 accounts engaging in coordinated behaviour which appeared to originate in Iran.

Also Read: Video- USA Gears Up For Its Midterm Elections

“Our automated detections continue to identify and challenge millions of potentially spammy and automated accounts per week. In the first half of September, we challenged an average of 9.4 million accounts each week,” said Roth.

Twitter is also witnessing a decline in the average number of spam-related reports it receives from users each day — from an average of approximately 17,000 per day in May to approximately 16,000 per day in September. (IANS)

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Theme of Annual Conference is Privacy, Reflecting Users’ Growing Ambivalence about Social Media

Now as the conference kicks off its 10th anniversary in Toronto, Canada on July 19, the theme is privacy

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Conference, Privacy, Social Media
FILE - Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to logos of social media apps Signal, Whatsapp and Telegram projected on a screen in this picture illustration. VOA

When the first International Conference on Social Media and Society was held in 2010, social media firms like Facebook, Twitter and others were seen in mostly a positive light, as a novel way of empowering and connecting people.

Now as the conference kicks off its 10th anniversary in Toronto, Canada on July 19, the theme is privacy and trust, reflecting users’ growing ambivalence about social media, said Anatoliy Gruzd, an associate professor at Ryerson University and the event’s organizer.

“People are realizing the importance of the platforms and the potential negative impact on their lives and their communities,” he said. The effects can be societal, personal and political, he said.

The conference comes as governments, nonprofits and consumers grapple with the negative effects of social media. President Donald Trump recently held a summit on social media at the White House, claiming that Twitter, Facebook and others are biased against him and conservative voices.

Conference, Privacy, Social Media
FILE – Laptops sit on a table in the empty offices of Cambridge Analytica in Washington, D.C., U.S., May 2, 2018. VOA

Now social media research, a field that didn’t exist before the mid-2000s, touches on almost every aspect of life. “We feel our work has a direct relationship to what is happening now rather than historical events,” Gruzd said.

Teens’ ambivalence about social media

Valerie Steeves, a professor at the University of Ottawa and one of the conference’s keynote speakers, said teens and young adults are more careful now about how they present themselves online compared to 10 years ago. The event’s keynote talks will be livestreamed on YouTube.

“In 2000, teens were going online because it was the cool place to be,” she said. “Now they have to be on, it’s infrastructure they have to use.”

Also Read- Dangerously High Temperatures in United States could Quickly Cause Heat Stress

And teens are ambivalent about being there. “They are very careful about how they post,” she said. Among their concerns — their data being “grabbed by a corporation,” she said. In a recent study of 5,500 children ages 11 to 17 in Canada, 95 percent said they didn’t think marketers should be able see the content they post online.

Trust in social media firms has eroded in recent years. That could be in part from publicized incidents, such as Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which Facebook allowed an outside researcher to have access to user data that was then used in political campaigns.

As a result of that scandal, the Federal Trade Commission this past week reportedly voted to approve a $5 billion settlement with Facebook that could end an investigation into its privacy practices.

Still, the power and reach of social media can bring people together around a shared interest like no other form of communication. One paper at the conference looks at how women discussing sexual abuse and harassment in China use code words on social media to circumvent censors.

Conference, Privacy, Social Media
When the first International Conference on Social Media and Society was held in 2010, social media firms like Facebook, Twitter and others were seen in mostly a positive light. VOA

Fake news and social media

In another paper, researchers examine the dynamics of polarization in the 2018 Brazilian presidential campaign. They found that fake news and misinformation didn’t really spread widely but stayed within polarized online communities, being passed around whether it was true or not, Gruzd said.

“We think fake news affects the whole society, but it may stay in pockets,” he said. “That doesn’t make it any less dangerous. It can make views more extreme and then turn into offline actions.”

Also Read- YouTube Fined in Millions Over Kids’ Data Privacy Breach

Trust, privacy, ambivalence and the promise of connection — social media will continue to be fodder for researchers as society grapples with its power. (VOA)