Tag Archives: Twitter

How Twitter and Facebook Will Handle Trump’s Account After January 20



The New York Times reported some details about how Facebook and Twitter will handle President Trump’s accounts after he is no longer a world leader. Once again, it appears that the two social media companies have very different plans about how to respond to whatever Trump posts after his presidential term is over.

In a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Senators asked Facebook’s Chief Executive, Mark Zuckerberg, and Twitter’s Chief Executive, Jack Dorsey, questions about their platforms. It appears that the Republicans, and the Democrats, had differing ideas about the topics that were most important to ask questions about.

The New York Times Reported the following:

Jack Dorsey said, “If an account suddenly is not a world leader anymore, that particular policy goes away.” He was referring to Twitter’s current policy of adding a label to Trump’s tweets to indicate that the content of the tweet was disputed or glorified violence. Labeled Tweets cannot be liked or retweeted.

Most Twitter users have to abide by rules that forbid threats, harassment, impersonation, and copyright violations. If someone breaks one (or more) of these rules, they may be required to delete that tweet. Or, their account may be temporarily banned.

According to The New York Times, Mark Zuckerberg said at the hearing that Facebook would not change the way it moderates Trump’s posts after he leaves office. Facebook has labeled some of Trump’s posts in which he made claims that Facebook deemed to be false information. Facebook users could still like and share those posts.

This information is useful for people who currently use Facebook and/or Twitter, as it allows people to decide for themselves which policy they would prefer to see. Those who want to read Trump’s posts after he is no longer President might choose Facebook – who will label misleading posts and leave them up. Those who would prefer their Twitter feed not to be cluttered with reactions to Trump’s misleading Tweets, may stick with Twitter.


Some Conservatives are Leaving Twitter and Facebook for Parler



Are you unhappy with Twitter and/or Facebook? Do you consider yourself to be conservative? It might be time for you to stop using the big social media companies and switch over to one that appears to be very popular with people who are conservative. The New York Times reported that Parler was at the top of Apple’s App Store in downloads last weekend. It is a Twitter-like social media app that doesn’t seem to have as many rules as Twitter (or Facebook) do.

Despite the conservative ire, Facebook and Twitter have long taken a mostly hands-off approach to digital speech. In recent months, however, the companies ramped up their efforts to prevent election misinformation. Facebook and Twitter said they would label false posts and slow down how quickly they could be shared, among other moves. They said many of the changes would be temporary.

The main idea I got from reading The New York Times article is there are people who are angry with Twitter and Facebook. That, by itself, is not unusual.

This group, however, considers themselves to be conservative. A number of them seem to think that Twitter’s labeling of tweets that contain misinformation is equal to censorship. One could assume that this group is also displeased when Facebook removes groups that have broken their rules. Parler offers conservatives a social media app where nothing will be labeled or fact-checked.

Slate reported that there already are some well known conservatives who are on Parler (but have not entirely left Twitter or Facebook). This includes Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and Eric Trump. Houston Chronicle reported that U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, U.S. Senator Devin Nunes, and Tucker Carlson are on Parler.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Parler says that all are welcome. That could mean that it is not specifically intending to be a “bubble” for conservative-minded people. Personally, I don’t think it will interest very many people who do not happen to be conservative.


Twitter Makes Changes Ahead of 2020 US Election



Twitter announced additional, significant product and enforcement updates that it says will increase context and encourage more thoughtful consideration before tweets are amplified. I believe that certain US politicians are going to become irate about these changes. Overall, I think these changes will be beneficial to most people who use Twitter.

Financial Times reported that these changes come weeks before Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey and Facebook head Mark Zuckerburg are due to testify before the Senate commerce committee as part of a review of Section 230, which gives them immunity from being sued over content that they publish.

Previous to these changes, Twitter already implemented policy that does not allow anyone on Twitter to manipulate or interfere in elections or other civic processes.

They have expanded that policy:

  • People on Twitter, including candidates for office, may not claim an election win before it is authoritatively called. To determine the results of an election in the US, Twitter require either an announcement from state officials, or a public projection from at least two authoritative, national news outlets that make independent election calls. Tweets which include premature claims will be labeled and direct people to our official US election page.
  • Tweets meant to incite interference with the election process or with the implementation of election results, such as through violent action, will be subject to removal. This covers all Congressional races and the Presidential Election.
  • Starting next week, when people attempt to Retweet one of the tweets with a misleading information label, they will see a prompt pointing them to credible information about the topic before they are able to amplify it. Tweets with labels are already de-amplified through Twitter’s recommendation systems, and these new prompts will give individuals more context on labeled Tweets so they can make informed decisions on whether they want to amplify it to their followers.
  • Additional warnings and restrictions will be added on tweets with a misleading information label from US political figures (including candidates and campaign accounts), US-based accounts with more than 100,000 followers, or that obtain significant engagement. People must tap through a warning to see these Tweets, and then will only be able to Quote Tweet. Likes, Retweets, and replies will be turned off, and these tweets won’t be recommended on Twitter.
  • Beginning on October 20 and continuing through the end of Election week in the US, Twitter will prompt people to Quote Tweet instead of Retweet. Twitter hopes it will encourage everyone to not only consider why they are amplifying a tweet, but also increase the likelihood that people will add their own thoughts, reactions, and perspectives to the conversation.

You Can Now Limit Who Can Respond To Your Tweets



Twitter has now made it possible for you to decide who can respond to your tweets. Twitter states that these new settings help some people feel safer and could lead to more meaningful conversations. It appears that the new settings reduce harassment on the platform.

Here’s how it works. Before you Tweet, choose who can reply with three options: 1) everyone (standard Twitter, and the default setting), 2) only people you follow, 3) only people you mention. Tweets with the latter two settings will be labeled and the reply icon will be grayed out for people who can’t reply. People who can’t reply will still be able to view, Retweet, Retweet with Comment, share, and like these Tweets.

Twitter started testing these options in May. Here is some of what they learned:

  •  These settings help some some people feel safer
  •  People told Twitter they felt more comfortable Tweeting and more protected from spam and abuse.
  •  Problematic repliers aren’t finding another way – these settings prevented an average of three potentially abusive replies while only adding one potentially abusive Retweet with Comment, And, Twitter didn’t see any uptick in unwanted Direct Messages.
  •  People who face abuse find these settings helpful – those who have submitted abuse reports are 3x more likely to use these settings.
  •  It’s a new method to block out noise – 60% of people who used this during the test didn’t use Mute or Block.

Twitter also found that these options enable more meaningful conversations. People who use these settings share more of their thoughts about topics such as Black Lives Matter, COVID-19, politics, and social issues. Make your tweet followers only – and no “reply guys” can interact with your tweet and derail the conversation.

Personally, I think these features are a nice addition to Twitter. It will reduce harassment in part because people won’t have the satisfaction of directly being mean to someone else. Based on Twitter’s research while they were testing these new options, it appears that those who want to be mean don’t seem to want to use the Retweet with Comment options to do it.


Twitter Posted an Update About their Security Incident



Twitter has posted an update about what happened regarding what they are calling their “security incident”. Not everything is being revealed right now, in order to protect the security of their efforts. Twitter said it will provide more details, where possible, in the future.

The attackers successfully manipulated a small number of employees and used their credentials to access Twitter’s internal systems, including getting through our two-factor protections. As of now, we know that they accessed tools only available to our internal support teams to target 130 Twitter accounts. For 45 of those accounts, the attackers were able to initiate a password reset, login to the account, and send Tweets. We are continuing our forensic review of all of the accounts to confirm all actions that may have been taken. In addition, we believe they may have attempted to sell some of the usernames.

In eight of the affected Twitter accounts, the attackers downloaded the account’s information through Twitter’s “Your Twitter Data” tool. It is a tool that is meant to provide an account owner with a summary of their Twitter account details and activity.

Twitter states that the attackers did not see the private information of the majority of Twitter users. For the 130 accounts that were targeted, Twitter revealed:

  • Attackers were not able to view account passwords, as those are not stored in plain text or available through the tools used in the attack.
  • Attackers were able to view personal information including email addresses and phone numbers, which are displayed to some users of Twitter’s internal support tools.
  • In cases where an account was taken over by the attacker, they may have been able to view additional information. Twitter’s forensic investigation of these activities is still ongoing.

Twitter is also aware that they need to “begin the long work of rebuilding trust with the people who use and depend on Twitter.” This is definitely something Twitter needs to worry about.

The accounts that got hacked belonged to current and former politicians, big name brands, and celebrities. These are the people who have a huge number of followers, might be purchasing ads, and who have a lot of influence. If that group now has concerns about Twitter’s security measures – they might leave the platform.


Verified Twitter Accounts were Hacked for a Crypto Scam



Those who looked at Twitter earlier today may have noticed some very unusual tweets from accounts that have a blue checkmark. TechCrunch reported that these high-profile accounts were simultaneously hacked and used to spread a cryptocurrency scam.

According to TechCrunch, the hackers started by targeting cryptocurrency focused accounts like @bitcoin, @ripple, @coindesk, @coinbase, and @binance. It is possible that those who follow those accounts might not understand that this was a scam.

The first hacked tweet I saw was from the Joe Biden verified account. Someone took a screenshot of what appeared to be Joe Biden tweeting “I am giving back to the community. All Bitcoin sent to the address below will be sent back doubled! If you send $1,000, I will send back $2,000. Only doing this for 30 minutes”. The tweet included a bitcoin address. (The screenshot was posted on social media that was not Twitter.)

I was immediately suspicious. Joe Biden doesn’t seem to me to be the kind of person who would tweet about Bitcoin. And now, we know that it certainly wasn’t him who posted that tweet.

Apple’s verified Twitter account also had a post about doubling the cryptocurrency sent to it. This, too, is extremely suspicions. Apple has never posted a tweet. Why would anyone believe that the first tweet Apple chose to post was about doubling your cryptocurrency? People who saw these tweets should have realized that something was wrong.

That said, some of the verified accounts that got hacked were ones that might sound convincing. For example, Elon Musk’s Twitter account was hacked. He has been known to post unexpected things on Twitter (such as his opinion on the stock price of Tesla). Kanye West, who recently decided to run for president, also seems like someone who just might decide to double people’s cryptocurrency on a whim.

The @Wendy’s account also got hacked. Would Wendy’s decide to “give back” to the community with cryptocurrency? Considering how snarky the Wendy’s account tends to be, some people might think the tweet was real.

This takeaway from this situation is that you should not believe everything you see on social media. It also makes it abundantly clear that social media is not as secure as you might think (or hope) it is.


Twitter is Rolling Out an Audio Tweet Feature



Twitter is rolling out a feature that will enable users to tweet with their voice. The ability to create voice tweets will be available to a limited group of people on Twitter on iOS to start, but in the coming weeks everyone on iOS should be able to tweet with their voice.

Twitter is where you go to talk about what’s happening. Over the years, photos, videos, gifs, and extra characters have allowed you to add your own flair and personality to your conversations. But sometimes 280 characters aren’t enough and some conversational nuances are lost in translation. So starting today, we’re testing a new feature that will add a more human touch to the way we use Twitter – your very own voice.

After recording your voice for 140 seconds, a new voice tweet starts automatically to create a thread. Right now, it is not possible to tweet with audio through replies or Retweets with Comment.

One thing to know is that your current profile photo will be added as a static image on your voice tweet. You can change your profile photo any time you want, but the one you used while recording a specific voice tweet will not change.

My hope is that this feature will be used to make Twitter more authentic. Hearing a person’s voice makes it easier to understand what they were trying to say, whereas text could be misinterpreted.

Tweets done entirely in audio are not going to be accessible for people who are deaf. Hopefully, Twitter will make sure that a transcription accompanies each voice tweet. They could add it under the profile photo and match it to the pace of the tweeter’s voice.

I have some concerns that nefarious users might try to use audio tweets as a way to get around Twitter’s fact-checkers, who might not be prepared to review audio as quickly as they do text.

It remains to be seen whether or not politicians will shift to audio tweets. Anyone can quickly read a tweet to know what it says. But, the content of audio tweets is only accessible if you click on them and listen. Audio tweets might shorten the reach of politicians, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.