Tag: Twitter

Twitter to remove inactive accounts

By Chris Welch for The Verge

Twitter is sending out emails to owners of inactive accounts with a warning: sign in by December 11th, or your account will be history and its username will be up for grabs again. Any account that hasn’t signed in for more than six months will receive the email alert.

“As part of our commitment to serve the public conversation, we’re working to clean up inactive accounts to present more accurate, credible information people can trust across Twitter. Part of this effort is encouraging people to actively log-in and use Twitter when they register an account, as stated in our inactive accounts policy,” a spokesperson told The Verge by email. “We have begun proactive outreach to many accounts who have not logged into Twitter in over six months to inform them that their accounts may be permanently removed due to prolonged inactivity.”

Twitter hasn’t yet said exactly when recouped usernames will be made available to existing users. The account removal process “will happen over many months — not just on a single day,” according to the spokesperson. So don’t expect some massive username rush to happen on December 12th. It might be awhile.

This doesn’t just affect people who’ve abandoned Twitter; it also stands to have an enormous impact on accounts belonging to the deceased. The Verge has asked Twitter whether those will also be pulled into the inactive pool and ultimately removed as part of this process. “We do not currently have a way to memorialise someone’s Twitter account once they have passed on, but the team is thinking about ways to do this,” the spokesperson said.

This might be your best chance to preserve tweets from deceased loved ones

If you’ve set up a bot or another secondary account, you should be safe as long as it’s stayed active. The BBC’s Dave Lee reported on the username cleanup. It’s not unusual for huge online platforms to do this from time to time. Yahoo launched an “account recycling” effort in 2013, though some people who grabbed inactive usernames wound up receiving email intended for the old account holder.

Keep in mind that these accounts don’t have to actually tweet anything to stick around. They just have to log in and follow Twitter’s instructions. So even if the username you want seems long dormant based on activity, whoever owns it can still hold on to the username pretty easily.

Also, usernames with under five characters can no longer be registered on Twitter, so that’s another thing to consider when dreaming about switching to that username you’ve always wanted. The username some other fool is failing to put to good use.

The email being sent out has a subject line of “Don’t lose access to @(username).” Here’s what it says:

Hello,

To continue using Twitter, you’ll need to agree to the current Terms, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Use. This not only lets you make the best decisions about the information that you share with us, it also allows you to keep using your Twitter account. But first, you need to log in and follow the on-screen prompts before Dec. 11, 2019, otherwise your account will be removed from Twitter.

So which username will you be going for? Actually, probably best to keep that to yourself until it’s locked in.

By Eddie Spence for Bloomberg

President Donald Trump’s tariffs on Chinese imports are getting a lot of blame for slowing the global economy, but it’s all the uncertainty from his Twitter habit and trade policy more broadly that could be even more harmful.

According to a report by Bloomberg Economics’ Dan Hanson, Jamie Rush and Tom Orlik, uncertainty over trade could lower world gross domestic product by 0.6% in 2021, relative to a scenario with no trade war. That’s double the direct impact of the tariffs themselves and the equivalent of $585 billion off the International Monetary Fund’s estimated world GDP of $97 trillion in 2021.

China would be hit harder by the uncertainty factor, with its GDP lower by 1% compared with a 0.6% chunk taken out of America’s economic output, the analysis showed.

“The tweet is mightier than the tariff,” the Bloomberg economists wrote in their report.

The U.S. president’s social media posts on trade, many of which are about China, sometimes appear several times a day and other times not at all. His contradictory takes on the progress of negotiations with Beijing send a chill through businesses that are making decisions about investing and hiring.

A survey released last week by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found a growing conviction among businesses that tariffs were hitting their bottom line.

The Fed responded to economic headwinds with a rate cut of 0.25% last month. The Bloomberg Economics report said that while monetary policy can be used to mitigate uncertainty shocks, it cannot prevent the damage entirely. If central banks respond to demand weakness, world GDP will be 0.3% lower in 2021 than it would be in a no-trade-war scenario.

Mecer ad misses the mark?

South African computer manufacturer Mecer has released an ad celebrating three decades of locally-manufactured products.

According to Business Insider, the ad “features a crew of singing and dancing people (presumably employees) in a factory, celebrating local manufacturing and everything South African, from the Springboks to Nelson Mandela. At one point, the lead singer raps that ‘local is not k*k'”.

In addition, “the ad explains how local manufacturing boosts economic growth and provides jobs, and at one point, a singer shoulders dancers wearing international brands like Nike, Kappa and Adidas out of the way.”

Reactions from Twitter and YouTube users were mixed, with some calling it “Next level cringe” and “The worst ad in the history of SA”.

Image credit: Business Insider

A customer service representative responding on the official Telkom Twitter account has accidentally agreed with a negative comment about the company.

The user was complaining about the provider’s service delivery, and the representative replied without having correctly understood the context.

According to MyBroadband, a “professional Fortnite player Dennis ‘Cloak’ Lepore said in a tweet that ‘Spectrum might be the worst internet provider ever’. Spectrum is an ISP which serves users in the US.”

A South African Twitter user named Jonathan Oliver then “responded to Lepore’s tweet, stating ‘Nah @TelkomZA takes the number 1 spot’.”

Although both users were complaining about the service of certain Internet service providers, the Telkom customer representative responded with the following: “Yass and your continuous support keeps us up there! Thank you…”

The reply was widely mocked and shared on social media. It has since been deleted by Telkom.

Standard Bank turns tweets into stationery

For every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. Some call it the concept of cause and effect. Others would term it reaping what you sow. At Standard Bank, this means that #GoodFollowsGood.

From August to October, Standard Bank will launch the Tweet Machine, a mobile industrial container that acts as a factory of sorts by linking the global reach of social media to 3D printers and laser cutters, which will produce 1000 set square and ruler kits for grade 6 learners. This is the first installation in the world to turn tweets into educational tools.

The idea will be to kick-start a positive impact initiative on social media by encouraging South Africans to tweet about something positive using the #GoodFollowsGood hashtag. Standard Bank will then facilitate the forward payment of this positivity by transforming these tweets into stationery sets for learners that are part of the Standard Bank Tutuwa-BRIDGE School Programme. The five-year partnership with Tutuwa-BRIDGE seeks to support schools in improving learner outcomes. Both learners and school performance will be monitored to ensure that the impact is effective and long-lasting.

The technology powering the Tweet Machine is a customised Python programming script on a master computer to scrape Twitter and other social media channels like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn for posts using the #GoodFollowsGood hashtag. The social media posts will be fed to a special micro-controller unit called a Raspberry Pi, which will send the appropriate print commands to the 3D printers and laser cutters housed inside the Standard Bank Tweet Machine.

“Our goal is to use the power of social media to illustrate that everything you do sets something in motion. The Tweet Machine activation is a live demonstration of positive words having a positive impact, while at the same time creating tangible education tools to benefit young learners,” said Katlego Mahleka, Senior Manager, Brand at Standard Bank Group.

The public will be able to view and contribute to the stationery by posting on social media and feeding directly into the printers and laser cutters as they work. The activations will be held at a two venues in Johannesburg: Melrose Arch Square (30 August – 2 September) and Singularity U Summit (15-18 October).

See the Tweet Machine in action here:

By Eric Limer for Popular Mechanics 

Twitter is suggesting all users change their passwords as a precaution after a reported glitch caused some passwords to be stored in plain text. If you’ve ever used your Twitter password for another service, you’d be wise to change it in both places.

Twitter says there is no evidence of a breach, but the error would have allowed any snoopers inside the system to scoop up unprotected passwords with ease. Typically, passwords are “hashed” before they are stored, a process which transforms them password into a unique series of numbers and letters that can’t be translated back into the actually sequence of numbers and letters you type in. This prevents hackers from snagging a phrase they can try on your other accounts.

Even with no evidence of an actual breach, this bug serves as a good reminder for some basic security hygiene. Use unique passwords for every service you use; a password manager can help you keep track of them all. Turn on two-factor authentication where available (it is available on Twitter). And while you’re at it, go look at the apps that have access to your account. These apps, if they’re insecure themselves, can offer hackers a limited way into your account without ever having to figure out your password.

Twitter is now finished with a several week process updating rules to curb abuse on the platform — but now the platform is refuting several undercover videos by Project Veritas trying to point fingers at the network.

On January 16, Twitter shared a statement on the latest video that suggests Twitter engineers access private direct messages, calling the project “deceptive”.

The video in question appears to be an undercover project where Project Veritas members recorded Twitter engineers — without their knowledge — while in a bar. In the video, the Twitter employees mention a machine learning system that goes through both Tweets and direct messages, while according to the video, some staff members go through the messages flagged by the machines.

The video was the third recent dig from the organization directed at Twitter, and the platform called the videos “deceptive” and “selectively edited to fit a pre-determined narrative.” In a statement on the direct message video, Twitter said, “We do not proactively review DMs. Period. A limited number of employees have access to such information, for legitimate work purposes, and we enforce strict access protocols for those employees.”

Twitter says the employees in the video were not speaking on behalf of Twitter at the time. Twitter’s Privacy Policy says that for direct messages, “we will store and process your communications, and information related to them.”

The video comes after another report on Twitter’s shadow-banning, and another undercover video where a Twitter engineer says they’d happily hand over President Donald Trump’s data for an investigation. Twitter also refuted both earlier videos.

While a number of individuals are using the recent videos against the platform, others are looking deeper into Project Veritas — an organization run by conservative James O’Keefe that also tried to get the Washington Post to publish fake news against a political candidate. As Twitter’s new rules result in more users getting banned from the platform, some groups aren’t happy with the switch from a platform that was previously more open, saying the changes create more bias.

Twitter, however, isn’t the only one calling the organization’s tactics deceptive. Wired suggests that the videos are part of the inevitable backlash from the new rules designed to combat abuse and eliminate hate groups and hate speech from the platform, suggesting the rules have the “alt-right” groups mad over the removal of some accounts. The video also comes after a handful of lawsuits filed against Twitter, including a complaint from one user that lost Twitter access after a post threatening to “take out” a civil rights activist. While the lawsuit is recent, the account ban happened three years ago.

The videos factor into a larger discussion as Twitter strengthens policies against abuse, and multiple social media networks struggle against fake news and now removing extremist content. No matter what side of the conversation you fall on, the “legitimate work purposes” access is a nice reminder that the internet isn’t the best place for the most private conversations.

By Hillary Grigonis for Digital Trends

 

Twitter announced on Tuesday it would double the limit for tweets to 280 characters, a bid to draw in more users and boost engagement at the social network.

Giving users twice the space to voice their thoughts ushers in a new era for the online platform, whose hallmark 140-character cap had encouraged users to craft succinct missives.

“We’re expanding the character limit! We want it to be easier and faster for everyone to express themselves,” tweeted the site, which started testing an increase to its limit in most languages in early September.

The changes will be rolling out in all languages except Japanese, Korean, and Chinese, in which space limitations have not been an issue, Twitter said.

It is the first time the tweet character cap has been raised since Twitter was founded 11 years ago.

Twitter, which has been lagging behind rival social networks in user growth and struggling to reach profitability, faced a dilemma over the change in that it could alienate longtime users and transform the nature of the service.

Product manager Aliza Rosen said in a blog post that the test showed most people still used 140 characters or fewer, suggesting the fast-moving nature of Twitter will not change.

“Our goal was to make this possible while ensuring we keep the speed and brevity that makes Twitter, Twitter,” Rosen said. “We’re excited to share we’ve achieved this goal and are rolling the change out to all languages where cramming was an issue.”

Brevity endures

Rosen noted that in the first few days of the test many people used the full 280-limit because it was new and novel, “but soon after behaviour normalised.”

As a result, “the brevity of Twitter remained,” she said.

While Twitter itself changed the way people communicate in the internet age, doubling the tweet character limit promised to shift it once again, according to Jennifer Grygiel, an assistant professor of communications at Syracuse University.

“It will slow down the speed at which users consume information and will allow for more clarity,” Grygiel said.

“This might not be a bad thing during a time when world leaders are making military threats via the platform.”

US President Donald Trump favours the platform for making major policy announcements, as well as criticising allies, taunting opponents and threatening North Korea with destruction.

He sent his inaugural 280-tweet while on South Korea as part of his Asia tour: “Getting ready to make a major speech to the National Assembly here in South Korea, then will be headed to China where I very much look forward to meeting with President Xi who is just off his great political victory.”

Glances and likes

Some users have worried that longer tweets could profoundly change the nature of the one-to-many messaging platform, which is popular with journalists and politicians but has failed to win the mass appeal of rivals like Facebook.

There was also worry that raising the character cap would give blowhards and abusers more room to spout.

“I will gladly give up my extra 140 characters if Twitter will delete Trump’s account,” author and civil rights commentator DaShanne Stokes said in a tweet fired off from @dashannestokes.

Stokes said Twitter’s move gives Trump “a bigger weapon with which to hurt more people.”

Twitter, which became a public company in 2013, has never reported a profit, even though it has built a loyal base of celebrities, journalists and political figures, including prolific tweeter Trump.

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said that longer test tweets got tended to prompt more engagement by others using the service.

“In addition to more Tweeting, people who had 280 characters received more Likes, Retweets, @mentions, Followers, and were more satisfied with Twitter. So, you’ll be getting 280 too – enjoy!” Stone tweeted.

Some analysts maintain longer tweets are not the fix Twitter needs, and may even change the appealing ability to take in messages with glances.

It also risks Twitter looking a bit more like Facebook, one analyst contended, and might prompt the leading online social network to respond to what it might see as a competitive threat.

Meanwhile, many users welcomed the news and said raising the character cap was long overdue. Some people already resort to long strings of rapid-fire tweets, known as “tweet storms,” to string together lengthy comment.

Last month, Twitter reported its loss for the past quarter narrowed as the company suggested it could reach profitability for the first time in the fourth quarter.

The update showed Twitter’s monthly active user base rose slightly to 330 million, roughly in line with forecasts.

Source: Fin24

Social-media giants such as Facebook and will have to reveal the scale of cyber bullying in the UK and face being made to pay the cost of dealing with it.

Under the latest guidance by the UK government, technology companies will be required to publish an annual report on how complaints are handled, the reported abuse that is pulled down and the extent of their efforts to moderate bullying or offensive content about children, women, gay people or religions.

One of the proposals is for “an industry-wide levy so social-media companies and communication service providers contribute to raise awareness and counter internet harms,”​ according to a statement published Wednesday that didn’t give further details.

“Behavior that is unacceptable in real life is unacceptable on a computer screen,” Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said in an email released by her office.

“We need an approach to the internet that protects everyone.”

The campaign is part of the government’s wider strategy to force technology companies to accept greater responsibility for their content.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has also called on companies to “step up” and assume moral responsibility for ridding their platforms of terrorist content, refusing to rule out the prospect of compulsion by fines or legislation.

The UK has been pushing the envelope in terms of how willing it is to go after Silicon Valley.

Efforts to end hate speech and trolling on social media have intensified in the wake of five terror attacks this year, yet the desire to regulate tech firms – in ways that are unprecedented – risks driving them offshore.

On Tuesday, Sharon White, the chief executive of UK media regulator Ofcom, said she viewed companies like Facebook as news publishers.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman, James Slack, later told reporters that the government was “looking at the role Google and Facebook play in the news environment” as well as “the roles, responsibility and legal status of the major internet platforms.”

In May 2016, a number of social-media companies, including Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube voluntarily committed to trying to take down illegal content within 24 hours.

But last month the European Commission called upon the tech firms to do more to block illegal content.

Germany has passed a law requiring hate speech to be removed within 24 hours of it being flagged, with penalties of up to 50 million euros ($60 million) for repeated failures to comply.

In September, May went further. At a meeting at the United Nations, she propose new rules requiring internet companies to take down extremist content within two hours.

Source: BusinessTech/Bloomberg

Twitter testing 280-character limit

Twitter is testing doubling its message character limit – from 140 characters to 280 characters.

The company is rolling out the feature to certain users, and aims to combat the “cramming” of messages to fit the character limit.

Twitter said most languages are impacted by cramming, except Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.

In Japanese, Korean, and Chinese, you can convey around double the amount of information in one character as you can in other languages.

Twitter shared the following information about Tweet behaviour on its platform:

  • 0.4% of Tweets sent in Japanese have 140 characters
  • In English, 9% of Tweets have 140 characters
  • Most Japanese Tweets are 15 characters, while most English Tweets are 34

“Our research shows that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people Tweeting in English,” said Twitter.

“Also, in all markets, when people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people Tweeting.”

Source: MyBroadband 

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