Categories: MarketingSocialMedia

Twitter Closes 70 Million Fake Accounts

Twitter has carried out a wide ranging purge of what it calls fake and suspicious accounts as part of a clear up of the platform.

The micro-blogging platform has reportedly shut down up to 70 million fake and suspicious accounts since May, says the Washington Post.

Indeed, Twitter is said to be suspending close to 1 million accounts a day according to data obtained by the US newspaper.

Troll purge

Twitter also confirmed the rate of account suspensions to the Washington Post, which has more than doubled since October, when the company revealed under congressional pressure how Russia used fake accounts to interfere in the US presidential election.

Indeed, such is the aggressive removal of unwanted accounts that there are concerns that it may result in a rare decline in the number of monthly users in the second quarter, which ended last week, according to a person familiar with the situation who was not authorized to speak.

Twitter declined to comment on a possible decline in its user base, but the extent of account suspensions is one of several recent moves by Twitter to limit the influence of people it says are abusing its platform.

“I wish Twitter had been more proactive sooner,” Senator Mark R. Warner, the top ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee is quoted by the Post as saying. “I’m glad that – after months of focus on this issue – Twitter appears to be cracking down on the use of bots and other fake accounts, though there is still much work to do.”

Last month Twitter revealed in a blog post that its systems were identifying and challenging more than 9.9 million potentially spammy or automated accounts per week. That’s up from 6.4 million in December 2017, and 3.2 million in September.

“There is a cat-and-mouse game between the botmakers and social networks, whereby botmakers quickly update their methods to avoid detection,” he said.

“With breakthroughs like conversational AI, you’ll see bots in the future being harder to detect.”

Poor record?

It was back in December 2015 that Twitter promised to tackle “abusive behaviour and hateful conduct” on its microblogging service.

It came after former chief executive Dick Costolo previously admitted that the company “sucks” at dealing with trolls.

Indeed, it is fair to say Twitter did at one stage have an unfortunate reputation for online abuse, and terrorists and extremists such as ISIS using Twitter to spread their twisted messages.

Labour MP Stella Creasy in 2013 also sought help from police after receiving a stream of abuse on Twitter, including threats of physical and sexual violence.

Twitter introduced a “report abuse” button into every tweet back in 2013.

Had enough of troublesome trolls? Try our quiz!

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

Recent Posts

TikTok ‘Halts E-Commerce Expansion Plans’

TikTok reportedly scraps plans to expand TikTok Shop livestream commerce in Europe and US after…

8 hours ago

European Parliament Passes Landmark Tech Regulations

European Parliament votes to adopt Digital Markets Act and Digital Services Act, but campaigners warn…

9 hours ago

Indian Economic Police Raid Offices Of Smartphone Maker Vivo

Indian economic crime agency Enforcement Directorate raids dozens of locations across India belonging to China's…

11 hours ago

French Music Service Deezer Slumps On Market Debut

Spotify and Apple Music competitor Deezer falls below opening price after long-delayed IPO in Paris…

11 hours ago

Foxconn Expects Stronger Sales In Spite Of Economic Gloom

iPhone manufacturer Foxconn revises full-year expectations upward amidst strong consumer and data centre demand, bucking…

12 hours ago

Samsung ‘To See Profits Jump’ On Data Centre Demand

Industry analysts expect Samsung's profits to jump 15 percent for the second quarter as strong…

13 hours ago