Twitter Lets Users ‘Hide’ Replies To Tweets

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 Thursday began letting users “hide” tweeted replies that could be seen as abusive or harassing in the latest effort by the online platform to create a more welcoming environment.

The move is part of an effort to help users “feel safe and comfortable while talking on Twitter,” head of product management Suzanne Xie said in a statement announcing the feature.

Hidden replies can still be peeked at and engaged with by tapping a gray icon that will appear, but they will no longer be active parts of the main exchange that sprang from a tweet, according to Twitter.

“This way, you have more control over the conversations you start, but people can still see the entire conversation,” Xie said.

The San Francisco-based company earlier this year introduced the option to hide replies to tweets in some countries, an option that promised to help foster more reasonable online conversations.

Testing showed that it is a useful tool for managing the back-and-forth exchanges tweets can inspire, according to Twitter.

During testing, hidden tweets were typically considered “irrelevant, off-topic, or annoying,” Xie said.

“We’re exploring more options around who can reply to or see specific conversations, and are testing engagement changes to see if these lead to healthier discussions,” Twitter said.

The hide-away feature is rolling out globally at twitter.com and in updates to the Twitter mobile app.

Twitter separately in September began letting users hide away unwanted direct messages, providing a new tool to stymie abuse.

Twitter users who receive direct messages from people they don’t follow on the platform are able to have such missives automatically routed to a secondary folder.

In 2016, the platform began allowing users to eliminate, or mute, notifications based on keywords, phrases or entire conversations they are not interested in seeing in the effort to stem abusive comments.

AFP

[Video] Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Speaks Yoruba As He Meets Toolz, Others

 

Barely 24 hours after landing in Nigeria, Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, has picked up some phrases in the native Yoruba language.

Clearly having a good time with his new friends which included media personality, Tolu Oniru-Demuren a.k.a Toolz, former government official, Dr Joe Abah and others, Dorsey was captured in a video asking ‘Bawo Ni?’, meaning ‘how are you’?.

“Great dinner with some new friends,” he tweeted later.

Read Also: Twitter CEO Meets Tech Entrepreneurs In Lagos

The CEO of the tech giant has also met tech entrepreneurs in Lagos State.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

My new friend Jack! 😁 #JackDorsey

A post shared by Toolz Oniru-Demuren (@toolzo) on

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Visits Nigeria

In this file photo taken on September 5, 2018 CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.  Photo: Jim WATSON / AFP

 

Twitter CEO and Co-founder, Jack Dorsey, is currently in Nigeria.

Mr. Dorsey arrived on Thursday evening as part of his listening and learning tour across Africa.

After Nigeria, Mr Dorsey is also set to visit Ethiopia, Ghana and South Africa.

While in Nigeria, Mr. Dorsey is expected to meet with leaders in the local technology and business ecosystem.

Elon Musk Is Disconnecting From Twitter

Billionaire entrepreneur and founder of SpaceX Elon Musk speaks at the 68th International Astronautical Congress 2017 in Adelaide on September 29, 2017. 
PETER PARKS / AFP

 

Tesla chief Elon Musk fired off a tweet on Friday indicating that he is disconnecting from Twitter, perhaps in favour of popular news and discussion platform Reddit.

Kicking the Twitter habit would be a radical change for the colourful serial entrepreneur who is known for tweeting so freely that he landed in hot water with the US Securities and Exchange Commission which accused him of misleading investors on the platform.

“Not sure about good of Twitter,” Musk told his more than 29 million followers in a series of rapid-fire tweets.

“Reddit still seems good.”

“Going offline,” Musk concluded.

Musk is being sued for defamation in Los Angeles by a man who helped in the dramatic rescue of 12 boys trapped in an underwater cave in Thailand last year.

Musk called the British caver a “pedo guy” on Twitter following a highly public spat between the two after Musk travelled to Thailand and offered to assist in rescue efforts.

Musk said in a court filing last month that he did not mean to accuse the caver of paedophilia when he referred to him as “pedo guy.”

In the filing, Musk claimed the term was a common insult used in South Africa when he was growing up, synonymous with “creepy old man.”

The case is set to go to trial on December 2.

Musk’s trouble with the SEC meanwhile stems from multiple tweets.

In February 2018 he posted that Tesla would make 500,000 cars in 2019 — up from the 400,000 that the company had estimated until then, an apparent increase on a benchmark tied to profitability, which elicited a rebuke from the SEC.

In a separate Twitter incident the following August, Musk claimed on the platform that he had secured funding to take Tesla private, which was quickly aborted, leading the SEC to accuse him of defrauding investors.

The SEC subsequently required Musk to step down as chairman and pay $20 million to settle charges over the matter.

Musk and the SEC early this year reached a deal to settle their differences over his Twitter use.

The agreement set out clearer guidelines on topics Musk should avoid on Twitter or other social media, including statements about acquisitions, mergers, new products and production numbers.

Musk’s Friday farewell tweet was met with thousands of replies, many expressing sadness and urging him to make his next online commentary platform definitively known.

AFP

 

Twitter Bans Political Adverts Worldwide On Its Platform

 

Twitter said Wednesday it would bar political advertising globally on its platform, responding to growing criticism over misinformation from politicians on social media.

Chief executive Jack Dorsey said in a tweet that the company took the action to head off potential problems from “machine learning-based optimization of messaging and micro-targeting, unchecked misleading information, and deep fakes.”

READ ALSO: WhatsApp Sues Israeli Firm NSO Over Cyber Spying

The move comes with Facebook under pressure to apply fact-checking to politicians running ads with debunked claims.

Dorsey said the new policy, details of which will be unveiled next month, would ban ads on political issues as well as from candidates.

“We considered stopping only candidate ads, but issue ads present a way to circumvent,” he said.

“Additionally, it isn’t fair for everyone but candidates to buy ads for issues they want to push. So we’re stopping these too.”

AFP

Twitter Tumbles As ‘Bugs’ Hit Revenue Growth

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 shares plunged Thursday after reporting glitches that impacted its ad-targeting ability, pulling down revenue growth in the past quarter.

Profit for the third quarter was $37 million, a sharp drop from last year when the online messaging platform was helped by a large tax benefit.

Revenue rose nine percent from a year earlier to $824 million, well below analyst forecasts, impacted by what the company called “revenue product issues.”

Shares in Twitter slid 19 percent to $31.44 in morning trade on the disappointing results.

Twitter said revenue was hit by “bugs” which made it harder to deliver targeted advertising, as well as some seasonal factors.

“Unfortunately we had some missteps and bugs,” chief executive Jack Dorsey told a conference call.

“These are issues we identified quickly and are working quick to fix.”

The issue affected the ability to deliver ads, which make up the bulk of revenue, according to the company.

“In Q3, we discovered, and took steps to remediate, bugs that primarily affected our legacy Mobile Application Promotion product, impacting our ability to target ads and share data with measurement and ad partners,” Twitter’s investor relations team tweeted.

“We also discovered that certain personalization and data settings were not operating as expected. We believe that, in aggregate, these issues reduced year-over-year revenue growth by 3 or more points in Q3.”

Chief financial officer Ned Segal said Twitter is working on a fix but that the glitch is expected to have a negative impact in the fourth quarter.

The bugs mainly affected Twitter operations outside the United States, where ad revenue was up just five percent compared with 11 percent for the US.

Overall, advertising revenue totaled $702 million, up eight percent from last year.

 Challenges ahead 

The results highlight challenges for Twitter, which has struggled to keep pace with rival social platforms as it seeks to remove fake accounts, abusive content and manipulation efforts.

“The miss (on revenue) wasn’t just because of tough comparisons, which were expected to dampen their revenue growth, but issues with their ad product. That could impact their performance in the all-important Q4,” analyst Jasmine Enberg of eMarketer said.

Mark Vickery at Zacks Investment Research said the results could be worrisome for Twitter looking ahead.

“It will be up to investors to gauge whether these issues are a temporary glitch on Twitter’s road toward higher levels or whether they will provide a longer term albatross around the company’s neck,” Vickery said in a research note.

Twitter boosted the number of “monetizable” daily active users, the new measurement used by the platform, by six million from the past quarter to 145 million.

Twitter has stopped using a count of “monthly active users,” which was 330 million earlier this year, in favor of the new measure of daily users on the mobile app or website who see ads in their feeds.

While Twitter has a strong following among journalists, politicians and celebrities, it has struggled to build a broader user base in the manner of rival social platforms such as Facebook.

Dorsey said the growth in users represents a “steady refinement of Twitter” as it works to improve the platform and weed out inappropriate content.

“This is an incredibly strong foundation to build upon,” he said.

Dorsey said Twitter has improved its automated systems to remove unwanted content, and now takes down more than 50 percent “proactively” and “without a bystander or first person report.”

AFP

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