Twitter Admits Phone Numbers Meant For Security Used For Adverts

Employees walk past a lighted Twitter log as they leave the company’s headquarters in San Francisco on August 13, 2019. PHOTO: Glenn CHAPMAN / AFP

 

Twitter on Tuesday apologized after “inadvertently” using phone numbers and email addresses for advertising even though the personal data was provided for account security.

Twitter users’ phone numbers and email addresses — submitted to allow for account authentication — were matched with advertisers’ own data to enable targeted ads.

“When you provided an email address or phone number for safety or security purposes this data may have inadvertently been used for advertising purposes,” Twitter said in an online post.

“This was an error and we apologize.”

None of the user data was shared with partners outside the company, and it was unclear how many people were affected,the San Francisco-based company said.

The issue was fixed in mid-September, Twitter said.

“We’re very sorry this happened and are taking steps to make sure we don’t make a mistake like this again,” Twitter said.

Privacy and internet data are hot political topics worldwide, with tech giants such as Twitter and Facebook in the crosshairs of regulators.

AFP

Twitter Closes Thousands Of Fake News Accounts Worldwide

Twitter Steps Up Fight Against Sexual Harassment

 

Twitter said Friday it shut down thousands of accounts worldwide for spreading misinformation, including some artificially amplifying pro-Saudi messaging as part of a regional propaganda war.

The move affected pro-Saudi accounts coming from Egypt and the United Arab Emirates directed at Qatar and Yemen, Twitter said, as well as others from China seeking to sow discord among protesters in Hong Kong.

Additional fake accounts were suspended in Spain and Ecuador, Twitter’s safety team said.

The move is the latest in a series of actions by social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter cracking down on manipulation, often by state-controlled entities disguising their identities.

It follows similar moves by Facebook last month removing fake accounts based in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE for posting misinformation about Middle East hotspots and others involved in “coordinated inauthentic behavior” focused on Hong Kong.

Royal Saudi account canceled

Twitter removed 273 accounts working in concert in “a multi-faceted information operation” to target Saudi rivals Qatar and Iran among other countries, as well as amplify pro-Saudi government messaging.

These accounts were “created and managed” DotDev, a technology company based in the UAE and Egypt. DotDev did not respond to an AFP request for comment.

Saudi Arabia, along with the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, has enforced an economic boycott of Qatar since June 2017, accusing the Gulf nation of links to extremist groups and being too close to Iran.

Twitter also notably shut down the account of Saudi royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani.

The close confidante of Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who ran Riyadh’s media center and managed an electronic army unabashedly defending its image, was implicated in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018 but was never formally charged.

Twitter also suspended a separate group of 4,258 accounts operating from the UAE, with messaging mainly targeting Qatar and Yemen.

“These accounts were often employing false personae and tweeting about regional issues,” such as the war in Yemen and main agitators in the conflict, Iran-linked Huthi rebels, Twitter’s statement said.

The UAE is a key partner in the Saudi-led military coalition fighting the Huthis in Yemen in a five-year conflict that has devastated the country.

Six accounts linked to Saudi Arabia’s state-run media were also flagged by Twitter for being “engaged in coordinated efforts to amplify messaging that was beneficial to the Saudi government,” Twitter said.

Twitter noted the accounts had posed as “independent journalistic outlets while tweeting narratives favorable to the Saudi government”.

Hong Kong protests targeted

Twitter identified 4,302 accounts based in China “attempting to sow discord about the protest movement in Hong Kong.”

This follows the identification in August of more than 200,000 fake accounts in China engaged in fueling public discord in Hong Kong.

Twitter and Facebook are both banned in mainland China.

Hong Kong has seen months of unrest as citizens protest what they say is an erosion of freedoms under Beijing’s tightening grip.

While Beijing has not intervened directly, its powerful media machine has steadily ramped up a war of words.

The moves to silence Chinese-run accounts on Twitter and Facebook were greeted with protests and claims of hypocrisy in the mainland, with posters taking to the authorized — and tightly controlled — Weibo platform.

Twitter said it removed 259 accounts operated by the conservative Partido Popular that were “active for a relatively short period, and consisted primarily of fake accounts engaging in spamming or retweet behavior to increase engagement.”

And in Ecuador, 1,019 accounts tied to the ruling center-left PAIS Alliance “composed largely of fake accounts” were deleted.

Twitter Closes Thousands Of Fake News Accounts Worldwide

Employees walk past a lighted Twitter log as they leave the company’s headquarters in San Francisco on August 13, 2019. PHOTO: Glenn CHAPMAN / AFP

Twitter said on Friday it has closed down thousands of accounts across the world for spreading fake news as well as pro-government propaganda, including in places like the United Arab Emirates, China, and Spain.

Accounts coming from China seeking to sow discord among protesters in Hong Kong were closed down, as were accounts amplifying a pro-Saudi message coming from Egypt and the United Arab Emirates directed at Qatar and Yemen, Twitter said.

Fake news accounts were also suspended in Spain and Ecuador.

The information release is part of the company’s push to improve understanding of how its platform is used by state actors to manipulate public opinion.

Twitter said they had identified 4,302 accounts based in China “attempting to sow discord about the protest movement in Hong Kong.”

This follows the identification in August of more than 200,000 fake accounts in China engaged in fueling public discord in Hong Kong.

The announcement follows Facebook’s removing fake accounts based in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE last month for posting misinformation about regional hotspots including Libya, Sudan and Yemen.

AFP

[UPDATED] Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s Account Hacked

CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey’s account sent out tweets containing racial slurs

 

Twitter said on Friday the account of chief executive Jack Dorsey had been “compromised” after a series of erratic and offensive messages were posted.

The tweets containing racial slurs and suggestions about a bomb showed up around 2000 GMT on the @jack account of the founder of the short messaging service before being deleted.

Some of the tweets contained the hashtag #ChucklingSquad which was believed to indicate the identity of the hacker group.

The messages contained racial epithets, and included a retweet of a message supporting Nazi Germany.

“We’re aware that @jack was compromised and investigating what happened,” a Twitter spokesperson said.

A barrage of comments fired off on the platform questioned why the Twitter o-founder didn’t secure his account with two-factor authentication, and how disturbing a sign it was that the service wasn’t to keep its own chief safe on the platform.

“If you can’t protect Jack, you can’t protect… jack,” one Twitter user quipped.

The news comes with Dorsey and Twitter moving aggressively to clean up offensive and inappropriate content as part of a focus on “safety.”

“This might be the only way to get rid of racist tweets on this platform,” a Twitter user commented.

Twitter recently announced they would meet with Manchester United representatives regarding calls for more to be done in preventing racist abuse of footballers on social media platforms.

What happened?

British-based security consultant Graham Cluley said the incident highlighted the importance of two-factor authentication, where a user must confirm the account via an external service.

“Everyone should ensure they have 2FA enabled, use unique password, and double-check what apps they’ve linked to their accounts,” Cluley tweeted.

“Hard to say at moment how he was compromised, but one of those reasons most likely.”

Cybersecurity researcher Kevin Beaumont said the account appeared to have been hijacked “via a third party called Cloudhopper, which Twitter acquired about 10 years ago and had access to his account.”

Cloudhopper enables users to send tweets on their phones via SMS.

The incident raised fresh concerns about how social media users — even prominent ones — can have their accounts compromised and used for misinformation, a point highlighted by Canadian member of parliament Michelle Rempel Garner.

“Between bots, trolls and abuse, I’ve been skeptical about @Twitter as a viable platform for some time now,” Rempel Garner wrote.

“But the fact it took the platform’s owner (@jack) about 30 min to get his hacked account under control is deeply problematic, and makes me worry as an elected official.”

AFP

Why Twitter Temporarily Restricted Activist, Aisha Yesufu

Micro-blogging site, Twitter, ‘temporarily restricted’ the account of activist Aisha Yesufu for a couple of hours on Thursday.

Yesufu is a co-founder of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) campaign.

The account was restored after several Nigerians with large following on Twitter reacted to the development, urging Twitter to restore Yesufu’s account.

A former minister of education and also BBOG co-founder, Oby Ezekwesili, tweeted in support of Yesufu.

“She does not deserve to be shut down,” Ezekwesili said.

 

  See more tweets with reactions to the restrictions below…

 

Twitter, however, in a mail sent to Yesufu explained that it restricted the account after its automated systems flagged a series of tweets from Yesufu’s account as spam.

“We apologise for the mixup, and hope to see back on Twitter,” the social media giant wrote to Yesufu.

Yesufu, a vocal critic of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, had been posting a series of tweets criticising the government.

“That I voted for the President in 2015 is not a reason I should not criticise the President,” she wrote. “It shouldn’t not be about personal inclination! It’s about justice!”

A photograph of Arabic scripts was attached to each of the tweets.

“I will continue to be a voice,” Yesufu tweeted after her account was unlocked. “My voice is not for myself alone but for so many others who unfortunately did not get that education that so many of us take for granted to have a voice,” she tweeted.

See Aisha’s tweet announcing that Twitter have removed the restriction…

 

Twitter, United To Meet Over Pogba’s Abuse

Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba/ AFP

 

Twitter have reacted to calls for more to be done in preventing racist abuse of footballers on social media platforms by agreeing to meet with representatives of Manchester United they announced on Wednesday.

United executives were keen for a meeting with Twitter after their French World Cup winning midfielder Paul Pogba was the victim of abuse following his penalty miss in Monday’s 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers.

His team-mate Harry Maguire demanded that Twitter and Instagram be more proactive in stopping “pathetic trolls”. England women’s football manager Phil Neville said football players should boycott social media.

Pogba was the third footballer to suffer racial abuse in a week for missing a penalty — the others being Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham and second tier side Reading’s Yakou Meite.

“Over the next few weeks, Twitter representatives will meet with Manchester United, Kick It Out (anti-discrimination organisation within football) and any other civil society stakeholders interested in hearing about the proactive work Twitter is doing to address online racist abuse towards certain footballers in the UK,” Twitter said in a statement.

“We have always maintained an open and healthy dialogue with our partners in this space, but we know we need to do more to protect our users. Racist behaviour has no place on our platform and we strongly condemn it.

“To this end, we look forward to working more closely with our partners to develop shared solutions together. In the meantime, for Twitter’s part, we will continue to proactively monitor the conversation, and take aggressive enforcement action when content violates our Rules.”

Twitter rules prohibit users from promoting violence against, threatening or harassing people on the basis of race, ethnicity or other protected groups.

Since 2018, it has increased the number of accounts suspended for evading a previous ban on the service by 45% and tripled the number of accounts suspended within 24 hours after receiving a report.

AFP

Twitter, Facebook: China Used Platforms Against Hong Kong Protests

 

Twitter and Facebook on Monday said they uncovered campaigns by China to use the social media platforms against pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

“We are disclosing a significant state-backed information operation focused on the situation in Hong Kong, specifically the protest movement and their calls for political change,” Twitter said in an online post.

Facebook said in a separate post that a tip from Twitter led to the removal of Facebook pages, groups and accounts involved in “coordinated inauthentic behavior as part of a small network that originated in China and focused on Hong Kong.”

Nigerian Govt Changes Name Of Twitter Handle

 

The Federal Government has changed the name of its handle on Twitter.

It announced this in a tweet on Thursday, noting that the handle now has the name @NigeriaGov and no longer @AsoRock.

The government explained that the change of name was necessary to reflect the fact that the handle represents the Federal Government of Nigeria and exists on its behalf.

READ ALSO: Rain Hinders Buhari From Inaugurating Hospital In Daura

The tweet read, “NOTIFICATION: Twitter Handle Change | From @AsoRock to @NigeriaGov, to more accurately reflect the fact that this handle represents, and exists on behalf of, the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

Twitter To Let Users Follow Interests

Employees walk past a lighted Twitter log as they leave the company’s headquarters in San Francisco on August 13, 2019. Glenn CHAPMAN / AFP

 

Twitter users will be able to follow a small number of interests by the end of the year in the same way they follow people, the company said Tuesday.

The feature will be rolled out internationally as the one-to-many messaging platform prioritizes being an online venue for conversations rather than a pulpit for one-way broadcasting to the masses.

“We are basically rewriting the entire conversation service,” Twitter product team leader Kayvon Beykpour told reporters during a briefing at the company’s San Francisco headquarters.

“We are rebuilding that infrastructure, and it is nearly complete.”

The company also highlighted ongoing efforts to make sharing thoughts on the platform safe and easy.

Twitter has always let users follow accounts but a new feature, set to debut by the end of this year, will let users opt into following certain sports teams or categories on a curated list.

For example, sending or interacting with tweets about a team might prompt a query over whether the user wants to “follow” that team or be kept in the know about what is being said on Twitter on the topics.

“We are going to let you directly follow topics on Twitter,” said product manager Rob Bishop.

“Rather than replacing the following people, we actually think this will help you find new people to follow.”

There will be an ability to “mute” topics to avoid seeing the score of a sporting match, for example.

Topics people follow will show up in their profiles as long as they are signed up for the interest.

Twitter is starting slowly, offering just a few sports options, to hone the feature before expanding to other topics, according to the teams.

Subjects designated “interests” by Twitter are meant to be lasting — such as football or cricket — rather than passing hot topics, according to Bishop.

“It is important for us to come up with a rigorous set of principles when it comes to defining topics,” Beykpour said.

“We are taking this superpower very seriously.”

A conversations team at Twitter has been working on ways to get people more enthusiastically engaged in meaningful exchanges, dabbling with changes while being mindful not to disrupt the lives of people who rely on the service.

“We know that Twitter is at its best with it is not just you tweeting something out as a broadcast, but really engaging in that conversation or being a host for others to engage in a conversation about what you are talking about,” said conversations product team member Sara Haider.

Twitter has no plans for an often requested “edit” button that would let users change posts already fire off, saying it raised complex issues and was “not anywhere near the top of our list” of things to do.

Twitter To Let Users Follow Interests, Topics

Employees walk past a lighted Twitter log as they leave the company’s headquarters in San Francisco on August 13, 2019. PHOTO: Glenn CHAPMAN / AFP

 

Twitter users will be able to follow a small number of interests by the end of the year in the same way they follow people, the company said on Tuesday.

The feature will be rolled out internationally as the one-to-many messaging platform prioritises being an online venue for conversations rather than a pulpit for one-way broadcasting to the masses.

“We are basically rewriting the entire conversation service,” Twitter product team leader Kayvon Beykpour told reporters during a briefing at the company’s San Francisco headquarters.

“We are rebuilding that infrastructure, and it is nearly complete.”

The company also highlighted ongoing efforts to make sharing thoughts on the platform safe and easy.

Twitter has always let users follow accounts but a new feature, set to debut by the end of this year, will let users opt into following certain sports teams or categories on a curated list.

For example, sending or interacting with tweets about a team might prompt a query over whether the user wants to “follow” that team or be kept in the know about what is being said on Twitter on the topics.

“We are going to let you directly follow topics on Twitter,” said product manager Rob Bishop.

“Rather than replacing following people, we actually think this will help you find new people to follow.”

There will be an ability to “mute” topics to avoid seeing the score of a sporting match, for example.

Topics people follow will show up in their profiles as long as they are signed up for the interest.

Twitter is starting slowly, offering just a few sports options, to hone the feature before expanding to other topics, according to the teams.

Subjects designated “interests” by Twitter are meant to be lasting — such as football or cricket — rather than passing hot topics, according to Bishop.

“It is important for us to come up with a rigorous set of principles when it comes to defining topics,” Beykpour said.

“We are taking this superpower very seriously.”

A conversations team at Twitter has been working on ways to get people more enthusiastically engaged in meaningful exchanges, dabbling with changes while being mindful not to disrupt the lives of people who rely on the service.

“We know that Twitter is at its best with it is not just you tweeting something out as a broadcast, but really engaging in that conversation or being a host for others to engage in a conversation about what you are talking about,” said conversations product team member Sara Haider.

Twitter has no plans for an often requested “edit” button that would let users change posts already fire off, saying it raised complex issues and was “not anywhere near the top of our list” of things to do.

AFP

Hackers Failed In Attempt To Gain Access Into Osinbajo’s Twitter Account – Aide

 

The Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, has said that there were attempts by hackers to gain access into Professor Yemi Osinbajo’s (VP) Twitter account.

Mr Akande disclosed this on Saturday through his Twitter handle.

He said, “Yesterday, there were failed external attempts to gain unauthorized access to the Vice President’s Twitter Account.

“Since, we have been in contact with Twitter, securing the account, and forestalling a re-occurrence.

“The VP will continue to actively communicate with our citizens”.

See Tweet Below:

Cardi B Cancels Show Because Of ‘Security Threat’

American Female Rapper, Cardi B

US rapper Cardi B canceled a concert in Indianapolis on Tuesday evening due to concerns over a “security threat,” she said on social media. 

Indianapolis police confirmed the cancellation, citing an “unverified threat to the artist.”

“There is no immediate threat to public safety, this (is) not an active incident. Ongoing investigation,” the department said on its official Twitter account.

The 26-year-old rapper posted a video on Twitter and Instagram of what appeared to be rehearsals at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse earlier in the day.

“Dear Indiana people I’m so sorry for today,” she posted on Twitter. “Unfortunately there was a security threat that is currently under investigation right now. My safety and your safety first.”

On Instagram she said, “Im so sorry guys I never dealt with a situation like this before and I’m not taking any chances. I love you guys,” followed by two heart emojis.

The superstar, who has a one-year-old daughter with her husband, the rapper Offset, also posted a screenshot of a statement from the show’s promoters Mammoth Live saying the concert had been postponed due to “a security threat and safety concerns.”

Annoyed fans tweeted that the show was canceled only “minutes” before it was scheduled to start, but others expressed their support for “caring about our safety.”

Bankers Life Fieldhouse’s Twitter account said the concert would be rescheduled for September 11 and promised to honor tickets for the show’s original date.

Earlier in the day, the outspoken artist, who has professed her support for US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, tweeted to remind her followers to watch the Democratic debate. In January, she posted a profanity-laced video on Instagram blasting President Donald Trump and the lengthy US government shutdown.

Last month the Grammy-winning musician, born Belcalis Almanzar, pleaded not guilty to attempted assault charges related to her alleged involvement in a 2018 strip club brawl in her hometown of New York.

AFP