Tuesday April 7, 2020
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Twitter used by illegal online pharmacies to pedal drugs

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New York: Illegal online pharmacies are using Twitter to promote prescription drug abuse of controlled substances.

“This study is the first to establish an empirical link between Twitter content and illicit online pharmacies which promote the illegal sale of drugs that have significant abuse potential,” said study co-author Timothy Mackey from University of California-San Diego.

“Our results are concerning, as the study found over 45,000 tweets that promoted drug abuse even though we only looked at a two-week period of tweets,” Mackey added.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), young adults are the biggest abusers of prescription opioid pain relievers, ADHD stimulants, and anti-anxiety drugs.

The study conducted surveillance and content analysis of over two million tweets using the Twitter public streaming application programming interface and used assisted machine learning.

Tweets were analysed to determine if they discussed drug abuse issues, whether they favourably promoted drug abuse behaviour, and were also examined to see if they directly enabled the illegal access to controlled substances by online pharmacies.

Mackey said the study findings are extremely troubling.

“When we examined links included in a subset of the tweets that discussed drug abuse, we discovered that 76 percent of these tweets included a link to an online marketing affiliate advertising the sale of the controlled substance valium, a tranquillizer that is commonly abused,” he said.

Buying prescription drugs from illegal online pharmacies also endanger consumers financial information, putting them at risk of identity theft, according to experts.

The study was published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR). (IANS) (image courtesy:wsjgadjets.ndtv.com)

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Facebook, Instagram Goes Down For PC and Desktop Users in UK

On WhatsApp, the users reported problems were with sending or receiving messages, followed by connection issues

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Facebook
"Desktop browser Facebook been slow for a few days & now won't load pages or login ... mobile version works fine!" says one user. Pixabay

Facebook and Instagram went down for the PC and desktop users in the UK on Sunday evening although mobile access was in perfect shape.

Several users took to Twitter, saying they could not access the social networking platform as well as its photo-sharing app on desktops. Both the platforms were up after couple of hours of downtime, reports outage tracking website Downdetector.

Several people replied to DownDetector UK’s official account to report which areas Facebook was down in. “Facebook is having issues since 5:24 PM BST. RT if it’s down for you as well #Facebookdown,” posted DownDetector.

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“Desktop browser Facebook been slow for a few days & now won’t load pages or login … mobile version works fine!” replied one user. The social media giant was yet to update its users why this happened.

Instagram
Facebook and Instagram went down for the PC and desktop users in the UK on Sunday evening although mobile access was in perfect shape. Pixabay

“I can still access it on my mobile but not on my PC, even though both going through the same router,” tweeted one user. On April 2, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp went down for millions of users in North and South America and Europe.

The frequently reported problems on Facebook were with images, according to Downdetector. Some people also had issues with News Feed and logging in. On Instagram, the majority of issues were with News Feed.

ALSO READ: Google Starts Showing Locations of Food, Night Shelters in Cities Across India

On WhatsApp, the users reported problems were with sending or receiving messages, followed by connection issues. (IANS)