Twitter is making life harder for bots and spammers

Twitter has announced new steps it’s taking to make its platform more hostile to bots and spammers. The social network has become notorious for allowing automated attacks to run amock, and there have been calls from many quarters asking Twitter to rein them in.

“Twitter fights spam and malicious automation strategically and at scale. Our focus is increasingly on proactively identifying problematic accounts and behaviour rather than waiting until we receive a report. ” explain Twitter’s Del Harvey and Yoel Roth in a blog post, “We focus on developing machine learning tools that identify and take action on networks of spammy or automated accounts automatically. This lets us tackle attempts to manipulate conversations on Twitter at scale, across languages and time zones, without relying on reactive reports.”

Twitter is implementing the following steps in order to make it harder for spammers and bots to propagate on the social network further.

1) Reducing the visibility of suspicious accounts in Tweet and account metrics – This means that suspicious accounts get their account metrics updated in real time, so an account which is challenged automatically gets removed from following lists, their retweets and likes don’t count, and so on until the firm has determined the veracity of the account. This is so users can’t use such accounts to boost their own credibility on the site.

2) Improving the signup process _ new users will now need to confirm their email or phone number on Twitter.

3) Auditing existing accounts for signs of automated signup -The firm will be investigating older accounts which have similar patterns as spam accounts and will remove them if necessary,

4) Expansion of our malicious behaviour detection systems – They’ll now check if there’s an exceptionally high use of the same hashtag by multiple accounts, and for spamming of @handles outside of the context of a response.  The firm may require users to complete a ReCaptcha test to verify if they’re human or just another bot.

Source: Twitter.

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