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Micro-blogging Platform Twitter Testing New Feature to Track the Original Tweeter

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said fake news is a way too big category, adding that the social network is taking "multi-variable" steps including the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

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The logo for Twitter is displayed above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. vOA

In a bid to curb the spread of fake and abusive content with untraceable origins on its platform, micro-blogging platform Twitter is testing a new feature that would help track the original tweeter.

Once rolled out, the feature will help cyber cell and other law enforcement authorities nab the one who started a “bad” tweet with hateful, abusive and fake content, especially in India which faces general elections in the next few months.

Twitter confirmed to TechCrunch late Thursday that the “Original Tweeter” tag has been rolled out for testing to a small percentage of iOS and Android users across markets.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

If this feature plays out as expected, it could help de-stress the toxic and abusive environment on social media platforms and help law enforcement authorities to identify and put questionable accounts and bullies on trials easily.

“Twitter’s purpose is to serve the public conversation. As part of this work, we’re exploring adding more context to discussions by highlighting relevant replies – like those from the original Tweeter,” the report quoted Sara Haider, Director, Product Management, Twitter as saying.

Public figures and professional organisations who use the platform to stay connected to their fans and target audiences, very often face the wrath of online trollers and notorious fake news spreaders.

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

Even though the platform verifies accounts, it still allows users to change their names and profile pictures on the app that has led to several imitation issues.

As India gears up for general elections, owners of global social media platforms are in a huddle over how to curb the spread of misinformation and fake news in a country where deep mobile penetration has made Twitter and Facebook available at the fingertips of millions.

Also Read- Microsoft Acquires Open-source Company to Boost Cloud Business

Addressing a town hall style meeting at the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi in November, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said fake news is a way too big category, adding that the social network is taking “multi-variable” steps including the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), to curb the spread of misleading information ahead of the 2019 general elections in India. (IANS)

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Twitter, Facebook Shut Down China-backed Fake Accounts

The recent wave of anti-government protests has prompted widespread criticism of the police for their alleged brutality against protesters

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

As pro-democracy protests gain momentum in Hong Kong, Twitter and Facebook have suspended several accounts that were part of the Chinese government’s influence campaign and targeted protest movement and the call for political change in Hong Kong.

Twitter said it has suspended more than 200,000 accounts involved in coordinated inauthentic behaviour — including 936 accounts originating from within the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

“Overall, these accounts were deliberately and specifically attempting to sow political discord in Hong Kong, including undermining the legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement on the ground,” Twitter said in a blog post late Monday.

The company identified large clusters of accounts behaving in a coordinated manner to amplify messages related to the Hong Kong protests.

“As Twitter is blocked in China, many of these accounts accessed Twitter using VPNs. However, some accounts accessed Twitter from specific unblocked IP addresses originating in mainland China,” the micro-blogging platform added.

The accounts were suspended for a range of violations of Twitter’s platform manipulation policies like spam, coordinated activity, fake accounts, attributed activity and violative content.

The micro-blogging platform said it will also ban ads from China-backed media companies, for which it has already faced the flak from users.

Facebook said it has also removed seven Pages, three Groups and five accounts originated in China and involved in posting fake news pertaining to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.

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FILE – In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Facebook stickers are laid out on a table at F8, Facebook’s developer conference in San Jose, Calif. The Boston-based renewable energy developer Longroad Energy announced in May that Facebook is building a… VOA

The individuals behind this campaign engaged in a number of deceptive tactics, including the use of fake accounts, “some of which had been already disabled” to manage Pages posing as news organisations, post in Groups, disseminate their content, and also drive people to off-platform news sites.

“About 15,500 accounts followed one or more of these Pages and about 2,200 accounts joined at least one of these Groups,a Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook, said in a blog post.

“Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our investigation found links to individuals associated with the Chinese government,” he added.

Based on a tip shared by Twitter about activity they found on their platform, Facebook conducted an internal investigation into suspected coordinated inauthentic behaviour in the region and identified the malicious accounts.

Also Read: Apple ‘Bug’ Puts iPhones with Latest iOS to Hacking Risk

Since June, Hong Kong has been rocked by a wave of protests because of the extradition bill, which would have enabled fugitives to be extradited from Hong Kong to mainland China.

A mass rally in Hong Kong on Sunday, widely deemed the most important so far this month, attracted tens of thousands of people as the crisis entered the 11th consecutive weekend of anti-government protests.

The recent wave of anti-government protests has prompted widespread criticism of the police for their alleged brutality against protesters. (IANS)