Twitter has ramped up its efforts to curb spam and automated profiles. These stringent measures are in place to stop the spread of fake news through tweets.
The micro-blogging site removed inactive profiles from followers in July this year. It spurred massive losses in followings for many users.
Now, Twitter detects and scrutinizes more than nine million potential spam profiles every week. It has dropped spam reports from users since July.
This week, Twitter updated its rules for creating profiles and distributing content ahead of the US midterms.
Twitter listened to feedback about fake accounts only covering simple schemes like selling fake goods.
As platform manipulation tactics continue to evolve, we are updating and expanding our rules to better reflect how we identify fake accounts, and what types of inauthentic activity violate our guidelines.
The company removes fake accounts engaged in malicious activities based on these factors:
- Use of stock or stolen avatars
- Use of copied or stolen profile bios
- Use of intentional, misleading profile info, including location
Twitter rules will also exclude an account from violating impersonation if:
- The only thing in common is the name
- The profile clarifies it has no links to other profiles with the same name.
Accounts with similar usernames or that are similar in appearance (e.g. the same avatar image) are not automatically in violation of the impersonation policy. In order to be impersonation, the account must also portray another person in a misleading or deceptive manner.
For instance, if you find a profiles using your avatar or profile image and file a report to Twitter, they will not act on it until the alleged impersonator shows malicious behavior. End of story.
The change in rules give Twitter more capacity to remove fake profiles, instead of finding some specific criteria.
Twitter also updated its rules on attributions. If it can reliably attribute a Twitter account to an entity known to have violated its rules, it will act on other accounts linked to that entity.
We are expanding our enforcement approach to include accounts that deliberately mimic or are intended to replace accounts we have previously suspended for violating our rules.
The new Twitter rules try to fix past exposures to misuse. It has new tools to detect accounts created from the same IP address. And it limits the capacity to create new accounts.
Distribution of hacked materials
Twitter says its rules ban accounts that distribute hacked materials, especially if it contains private data, trade secrets or harmful info.
We are also expanding the criteria for when we will take action on accounts which claim responsibility for a hack, which includes threats and public incentives to hack specific people and accounts. Commentary about a hack or hacked materials, such as news articles discussing a hack, are generally not considered a violation of this policy.
The new Twitter rules extend the scope of current options. It allows moderators to better curb the effect of violators.
Some violations may still get a pass. If POTUS Trump tweeted to Russian hackers to find Hillary Clinton’s lost emails, will this be banned under the new rules? It should. But newsworthy tweets fall under a different category.
That’s why Twitter rules still have gray areas.
With more than 300 million active users worldwide, Twitter will likely miss some potential violations. It will frustrate users who have no idea why Twitter chose to brush aside their complaints.
While we praise Twitter for listening to feedback and updating its rules ahead of the US midterms, it still has work to do on the loose parts and good execution.