Wednesday July 17, 2019
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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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Twitter Rolling out an Updated Desktop Version of its App

However, the comments the post has been gathering suggest the public is not happy

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FILE - A man reads tweets on his phone in front of a displayed Twitter logo. VOA

In a bid to make navigation faster, easier and website more personalized, micro-blogging site Twitter is rolling out an updated desktop version.

The updated Twitter website brings more of What’s Happening along with easy access to other features like Bookmarks, Lists and Profile, the company wrote in a blog-post on Monday.

The new version comes with an expanded Direct Messages section and the ability to let users switch between accounts faster and directly from the side navigation. It comes with new dark themes — Dim and Lights Out.

As part of the redesign, while the Home, Explore, Notification and Messages options have been shifted to the left of the desktop, the trending section has been moved to the right of the screen.

“Woah, what’s this? A shiny new Twitter.com for desktop? Yup. IT’S HERE,” making the announcement, the company tweeted from its official handle.

Blogging, Twitter, Global
A whole new Twitter is coming. Pixabay

However, the comments the post has been gathering suggest the public is not happy.

“Do not fix what’s not broken,” a user wrote.

“This is such a bad design that no one wants. I really don’t know what the design team was thinking, because this update is not suitable for desktop usage at all. You’ve designed it to function like a mobile app with obnoxiously big buttons + sections, but this ain’t a mobile,” another user replied.

Also Read: Schools in Germany Ban Use of Microsoft Office 365 Over Data Privacy

“#NewTwitter in a word, hideous. Please listen to those of us who actually USE @twitter rather than your ivory tower engineers. Just because you can design it does not mean you should. Among ugliest interfaces ever. Don’t need live counters. Profile page is now artless. #Clueless,” a person said. (IANS)