Twitter checking fake accounts every week

June 26th 2020, 8:45 am Author: P.Chau

Twitter is checking millions of accounts per week to decide if they are human-runed or automated, said by its Chief Technology Officer - Parag Agrawal.

The use of false accounts became a major problem for tech firms, particularly after the 2016 revelations that Russian trolls exploited social networks to cause discord amongst Americans during the US presidential election. Agrawal, who spoke at the Home tech conference at Collison, said that there are various types of fake accounts that bad actors can use.

Some accounts are entirely coded and other accounts are 'humans in the loop.' There are also individual accounts that try to exploit communications and accounts that are hacked and then exploited by bad actors. 

"Any attempt to manipulate the conversation actually applies some combination of all four of these potential to do so," he said. 

Apart from threatening accounts, Agrawal said Twitter is removing millions of accounts per month before anyone sees them on profiles or search results.

The tech giant is said to be using technologies to track a vast range of accounts' activities and to identify trends. Once Twitter sees "anomalies" that can not be explained by "normal usage," the company knows if it should investigate some accounts or not.

It's not really straightforward to find out if a Twitter account is legitimate, he said, since there are accounts with no profile picture and a small amount of tweets that seem like bots but are operated by humans. Twitter also allows users to use pseudonyms.

However, he added, the accounts that obviously look fake are not really the most troublesome

"The most dangerous fake accounts actually don't look fake on the surface," he said.

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