Category Archives: Twitter

Twitter actually followed through on upping its fake-account-banning game

It's a Silicon Valley tale as old as time. A company publicly screws up, promises to make things better, and then continues to repeat the same mistakes. But maybe, just maybe, Twitter is delivering some much needed edits to that particular fable. 

As reported by the Washington Post, the San Francisco-based social media company has stepped up efforts to kick so-called fake accounts off the platform, and has found at least some success in its efforts. But that success might come at the cost of the company's bottom line. 

More about Twitter, Social Media, Tech, and Social Media Companies

Twitter’s efforts to suspend fake accounts have doubled since last year

Bots, your days of tweeting politically divisive nonsense might be numbered. The Washington Post reported Friday that in the last few months Twitter has aggressively suspended accounts in an effort to stem the spread of disinformation running rampant on its platform.

The Washington Post reports that Twitter suspended as many as 70 million accounts between May and June of this year, with no signs of slowing down in July. According to data obtained by the Post, the platform suspended 13 million accounts during a weeklong spike of bot banning activity in mid-May.

Sources tell the Post that the uptick in suspensions is tied to the company’s efforts to comply with scrutiny from the congressional investigation into Russian disinformation on social platforms. The report adds that Twitter investigates bots and other fake accounts through an internal project known as “Operation Megaphone” through which it buys suspicious accounts and then investigates their connections.

Twitter declined to provide additional information about The Washington Post report, but pointed us to a blog post from last week in which it disclosed other numbers related to its bot-hunting efforts. In May of 2018, Twitter identified more than 9.9 million suspicious accounts — triple its efforts in late 2017.

Chart via Twitter

When Twitter identifies an account that it deems suspicious, it then “challenges” that account, giving legitimate Twitter users an opportunity to prove their sentience by confirming a phone number. When an account fails this test it gets the boot, while accounts that pass are reinstated.

As Twitter noted in its recent blog post, bots can make users look good by artificially inflating follower counts.

“As a result of these improvements, some people may notice their own account metrics change more regularly,” Twitter warned. The company noted that cracking down on fake accounts means that “malicious actors” won’t be able to promote their own content and accounts as easily by inflating their own numbers. Kicking users off a platform, fake or not, is a risk for a company that regularly reports its monthly active users, though only a temporary one.

As the report notes, at least one insider expects Twitter’s Q2 active user numbers to dip, reflecting its shift in enforcement. Still, any temporary user number setback would prove nominal for a platform that should focus on healthy user growth. Facebook is facing a similar reckoning as a result of the Russian bot scandal, as the company anticipates user engagement stats to dip as it moves to emphasize quality user experiences over juiced-up quarterly numbers. In both cases, it’s a worthy trade-off.

The internet mercilessly mocks a photo of the Trump boys and it is deeply satisfying

Those rambunctious rapscallions, the Trump Boys, are being shredded across the internet again thanks to a photo shared by their pal. 

While contemplative forest photos and pictures with elephant tails have already generated so much Burn Twitter, a new photo by alt-right personality Jack Posobiec has given more fuel to the fire of Trump Boys haters. 

46 47 pic.twitter.com/ZvCTv7MOXD

— Jack Posobiec🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) July 4, 2018

Lord, can you imagine a dynasty that sees us going from Donald Trump to Donald Trump Jr. to Eric Trump? Truly the law of diminishing returns (which is already saying something).  Read more...

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Seth Rogen calls out Twitter’s Jack Dorsey for the platform’s white supremacist problem

Seth Rogen is sick and tired of how Twitter has been dealing with the racists and white supremacists who plague the platform.

The actor called out Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Tuesday in a public tweet.

I’ve been DMing with @jack about his bizarre need to verify white supremacists on his platform for the last 8 months or so, and after all the exchanges, I’ve reached a conclusion: the dude simply does not seem to give a fuck.

— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) July 3, 2018

Rogen says he's been privately messaging Jack via Twitter for months, trying to figure out what the company has in mind when it verifies white supremacists on its platform. Read more...

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The best tweets of 2018 so far

It may seem impossible that, in our current cursed reality, anyone could generate even a single good tweet. For the most part, this is true. 

But there are a few tweets that rise above. These are the good tweets, the tweets that perhaps — against all odds — even made us laugh. Does anyone remember what laughing feels like? We have forgotten.

Anyway, here are 25 of this year's finest tweets (so far.)

coffins : the ultimate and final ravioli

— egg dog ★★☆☆☆ (@egg_dog) March 7, 2018

I am so Humble ❤ im not bragging but i just wanna thank god i went from living paycheck to paycheck to saving up enough money to purchase a data plan that allowed me to download this picture 🙌🙌 pic.twitter.com/ZdS1Yjasb5

— Normani’s boo (@TyranKyran) March 22, 2018 Read more...

More about Twitter, Social Media, 2018, Culture, and Web Culture

Twitter gets a re-org and new product head

Twitter has a new product manager in the wake of a large re-org of the company announced this week. The changes will see Twitter dividing its business into groups including engineering, product, revenue product, design and research, and more, while also bringing on Kayvon Beykpour, the GM of video and former Periscope CEO, as product head.

Beykpour will replace Ed Ho, vice president of product and engineering, as Ho steps down into a part-time role. In a series of tweets, Ho explains his decision was based on a family loss, and says he hopes to return full-time in the future. He had been on leave from Twitter since May.

As Recode noted, these change will make Beykpour the sixth exec to head up product since early 2014.

Meanwhile, Ho’s other role — head of engineering — will now be overseen by Mike Montano, who is stepping up from product engineering.

Twitter CEO’s announcement of the changes, below, was tweeted out on Thursday:

Republicans think social media companies censor opposing political viewpoints

I guess it's easier than just admitting your tweets are bad.

A majority of Republicans surveyed by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center claim that the technology companies of the world are liberal, and, what's more, that social media companies specifically censor opposing political viewpoints on their platforms. 

In other words, Republicans believe they're the victims of a vast Silicon Valley conspiracy that will do anything in its power to keep the lid on the Truth. Or something. 

This, of course, is nonsense — but don't tell that to the Republicans surveyed by Pew. The report, released today, quantifies the kind of conspiratorial thinking that gave rise to the likes of alt-right social media platforms such as Gab. And the picture those numbers paint isn't pretty.  Read more...

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