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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.

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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.

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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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Indian IT Act Silent On Social Media’s Manipulative Role

With a wide array of social media analytics tool available online it is not even difficult to spot the right influencers for their advertising programmes.

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While celebrities with huge following running into millions on social media are known as macro influencers, even some people with small number of followers can earn big sum of money as influencers. They are known as micro influencers. Pixabay

If the Cobrapost investigation which revealed that several Bollywood celebrities were willing to pass views of political parties as personal opinion for money shook your conscience, but there is not much that you could do to restrict them from doing so because the relevant Indian law is silent on this matter.

The investigation revealed that more than 30 Indian film and TV industry actors/artistes agreed to spread the propaganda of political parties through their social media accounts for money.

“Taking money for tweeting on behalf of political parties is definitely unethical, but it is not illegal. The Information Technology Act, 2000 is completely silent on this,” Pavan Duggal, one of the nation’s top cyber law experts, told IANS.

What the investigation unearthed was just the tip of the iceberg. The rise in popularity of social media platforms actually opened up a relatively new advertising economy driven by “influencer marketing”.

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Just as social media companies have come up with transparency rules for political ads, they should have similar features for influencers so that people can distinguish between commercial space and personal space. Pixabay

Marketing firm Mediakix estimated that influencer marketing on Instagram alone could reach $2 billion by the end of this year from $1 billion in 2017.

While Instagram has over a billion monthly active users globally, its parent company Facebook has over 2.3 billion monthly active users and over 16 million people log in to Twitter every day. WhatsApp is another powerful platform which has over 200 million users in India.

The kind of reach that these social media platforms have can offer some idea about how big the influencer marketing business could be. Important here to mention is that it is not just celebrities who are the stars in this game.

While celebrities with huge following running into millions on social media are known as macro influencers, even some people with small number of followers can earn big sum of money as influencers. They are known as micro influencers.

With a wide array of social media analytics tool available online it is not even difficult to spot the right influencers for their advertising programmes.

“In the starting, celebrities were used as influencers for brand endorsement and marketing purposes, however, after social media, now everyone is a celebrity and everything is business including politics,” social media expert Anoop Mishra said.

In countries like the US, it is mandatory to put proper disclosure on paid posts. But only a few follow the rules.

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With the elections coming, political parties are not complaining much. A top WhatsApp executive recently even warned political parties against abusing its platform.
Pixabay

In India, due to lack of user awareness, it is even more difficult distinguish between a paid post and personal opinion.

With the elections coming, political parties are not complaining much. A top WhatsApp executive recently even warned political parties against abusing its platform.

“More than 10,000 official WhatsApp groups have been created by a leading political party to slam its rivals on social media,” Mishra said.

“Political discourse is going to be impacted by social media influencers. There is no two opinion about it,” Duggal said, adding that the consequences of this can be very serious as social media platforms are being used to create a highly-polarised atmosphere in the country.

Also Read: Socialism is Making a Comeback Among U.S. Democrats
Just as social media companies have come up with transparency rules for political ads, they should have similar features for influencers so that people can distinguish between commercial space and personal space.

“Manipulation of social media platform for personal gain must be brought under the ambit of law without putting barriers on free speech,” Duggal added. (IANS)