Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘twitter’ Category

Follow Wisely

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Happy Tuesday.

I haven’t watched a college basketball game all year, but that NCAA men’s championship game last night between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the University of Virginia Cavaliers was certainly a good one to watch. 

Being a Texas boy, I was rooting for the Red Raiders, but being a bigger Thomas Jefferson fan, I couldn’t help but be happy for the winners.  And in OT, no less.

So what’s up off the court?

TechCrunch is reporting that Twitter continues to fight the bots, this time by minimizing the number of followers a user can follow per day, from 1,000 to 400. “The idea with the new limit is that it helps prevent spammers from rapidly growing their networks by following then unfollowing Twitter accounts in a ‘bulk, aggressive or indiscriminate manner.’”

 

In response to Twitter’s tweet about the new limits, several have responded to ask why the number “400” was chosen, as that is still far more than a regular Twitter user would need to follow in a single day. Some users said it took years to get to the point of following hundreds of people. Meanwhile, the business use case for following 400 people is somewhat debatable, as DMs can be left open and companies can tweet a special URL to send customers to their inbox to continue a conversation — no following or unfollowing needed on either side.

Follow wisely — and slowly — Grasshopper.

Written by turbotodd

April 9, 2019 at 9:26 am

Posted in 2019, twitter

Tagged with ,

Twitter Releases Massive Data Sets

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YouTube had an outage last night and the world went crazy. Thankfully I was out to dinner with friends and didn’t even notice.

9to5 Google did notice, and reported that “after an agonizing two hours, YouTube servers and PlayStore transactions are simultaneously beginning to recover. The two issues seem likely to be related.”

OMG…YouTube was down for two hours, people!  Panic in the streets!  I really don’t think life as we know it can go on.

Get a frickin’ grip.

Now for me, such panic would ensue only if Amazon Prime or Netflix went down. In fact, I was trying to finish out the third season of “A Man in the High Castle” the other night and I started getting Amazon’s version of the buffering pinwheel.

I almost broke out the flint and tinder (the stuff you make fire with, not the…oh, never mind).

Meanwhile, to the story du jour…Bloomberg is reporting that Twitter has published data sets comprising millions of tweets, images, and videos and thousands of accounts linked to operatives based in Russia and Iran, “who have sought to use the platform for nefarious purposes.”

Nefarious purposes like shutting down YouTube for two hours and sending people across the U.S and Europe into widespread panic? That kind of nefarious purpose?

Twitter indicated it was opening the data up to the public “to encourage independent analysis by researchers, academics and journalists.”

The announcement comes as EU officials are bracing for attempted meddling by Russia-backed operatives and their copycats ahead of the bloc’s elections in the spring, where far-right parties are set to make gains.

The datasets are made up of 3,841 accounts affiliated with the Internet Research Agency, 770 other accounts potentially in Iran as well as 10 million tweets and more than 2 million images, videos and other media.

Maybe they can hire Cambridge Analytica to analyze all that data and produce a report of their findings?

Written by turbotodd

October 17, 2018 at 9:48 am

Posted in 2018, twitter, youtube

Tagged with , ,

Big Tech Regulation

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Axios posted some survey results a few hours ago that suggests a majority of Americans are now concerned that the government won’t do enough to regulate How us technology companies operate.

According to the story, across-the-board concern about government in action is up significantly – 15 percentage points – in the past three months. And Axios suggests that it shows how worried Americans are about Russian meddling in the 2016 election, but also a growing anxiety about the potentially addictive nature of some of the tech companies’ products, and the relentless spread of fake news on their platforms.

More highlights:

  • More than 8 out of 10 people, including big majorities across party lines, blame the technology companies for not doing more to safeguard their platforms against election interference.

  • When asked whether social media does more to help promote democracy and free speech or does more to hurt democracy and free speech, most Americans (55%) now say social media does more to hurt democracy and free speech.

Axios suggests that major tech firms response thus far has been to “tout the fact that consumers love their free, innovative products that have become staples of every day life.” But also that these new numbers suggest more people are trying to square their affinity for those services with the downsides that have reared their heads over the past year.

Still, more than 7 out of 10 Americans still believe that technology has had a positive effect on society.

We’ll just have to wait and see if it stays that way.

Written by turbotodd

February 28, 2018 at 9:38 am

Russians, Bots, Guns, Rinse, Repeat

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So how long did it take before the Russian Twitter bots kicked into high gear after last week’s tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida?

According to a story in The New York Times, it only took about an hour:

The accounts addressed the news with the speed of a cable news network. Some adopted the hashtag #guncontrolnow. Others used #gunreformnow and #Parklandshooting. Earlier on Wednesday, before the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., many of those accounts had been focused on the investigation by the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

If you want to keep a lookout for such bots, the Alliance for Securing Democracy has some recommendations: Look for a high volume of posts or content that conspicuously matches hundred of other accounts.

And this is just the latest example of Russian bots going into action…they were also seen in the Russian election manipulation, as seen in the first major Robert Mueller indictment last week…they were featured in the national anthem NFL boycott (#standforouranthem, #takeaknee)…and now, guns.

Seeing a trend yet?

Any significant issues dividing the American public along partisan lines, there’s an increasingly good chance at least a few Russian bots will be standing smack dab in the middle of the dividing line.

Written by turbotodd

February 20, 2018 at 11:56 am

The Power of a Bitcoin

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Happy Friday.

Well, for most.

A disgruntled employee on the way out the door from Twitter apparently deleted President Donald Trump’s Twitter account last night for eleven whole minutes.

Twitter Government on the incident:

Earlier today ’s account was inadvertently deactivated due to human error by a Twitter employee. The account was down for 11 minutes, and has since been restored. We are continuing to investigate and are taking steps to prevent this from happening again.

But if you really want to talk about power, check out how much the average Bitcoin transaction uses: 215 KWh!  According to a story from Motherboard, that’s enough to run an average US home for nearly a week!

In fact, at nearly 300,000 Bitcoin mining transactions per day, global Bitcoin mining could power the daily energy needs of 821,940 average American homes.

And if you instead want to talk about running out of power, it’s sad days at Stack Overflow, the go-to Q&A site for developers. TechCrunch is reporting Stack is going to be laying off roughly 20 percent of its work force, and also going to be closing its Denver office.

Stack’s new “Channels” product is still in beta, and offers a private version of Stack Overflow that companies can run for their own internal teams. But according to TechCrunch, the company’s facing some stiff headwinds due to the likes of Slack, Hipchat, and other similar platforms.

 

Written by turbotodd

November 3, 2017 at 11:23 am

A Swedish Task

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Swedish purveyor of home goods and furnishings, Ikea, has bought TaskRabbit, the contract labor marketplace, according to a report by Recode.

No price was revealed, but TaskRabbit is a major player in the “gig” economy that connects freelance workers with jobs (handymen, movers, etc.)

Recode reports TaskRabbit already had a partnership with Ikea for furniture assembly in the United Kingdom, and that Ikea’s purchase will get them “even more deeply into the tech space.”

Just this week, Ikea released its own augmented reality app for the iPhone called “Ikea Place.” The app allows shoppers to scan a room and place Ikea furniture virtually to see how it looks (no word yet on whether there’s a virtual Ikea assistant to tell you how much that sofa just doesn’t go with that carpet).

Back in Washington, D.C., Twitter appeared before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to discuss “a number of questions about how malicious bots and misinformation networks on Twitter may have been used in the context of the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections.”

Hey, no pressure or anything.

All this talk of Twitter and bots and Russian misinformation makes me pine for 2007, when all we technorati used Twitter for was to figure out where we were going for lunch during SXSW.

So what did Twitter’s self-inquiry find on the matter? According to their own statement, of the roughly 450 accounts that Facebook recently shared as a part of their review, Twitter concluded it had 22 corresponding accounts:

All of those identified accounts had already been or immediately were suspended from Twitter for breaking our rules, most for violating our prohibitions against spam. In addition, from those accounts we found an additional 179 related or linked accounts, and took action on the ones we found in violation of our rules. Neither the original accounts shared by Facebook, nor the additional related accounts we identified, were registered as advertisers on Twitter. However, we continue to investigate these issues, and will take action on anything that violates our Terms of Service.
– via blog.twitter.com

They go on to cite several Russia Today (RT) accounts that spent $274,000 in U.S. ads in 2016, and those three accounts promoted some 1,823 Tweets that “definitely or potentially targeted the U.S. markets.”

Interestingly, the Twitter blog post indicates those campaigns were “directed at followers of mainstream media and primarily promoted RT Tweets regarding news stories.”

So the endgame is that Russians were buying ads on Twitter to target other Twitter users who were members of the U.S. mainstream media.

I’m shocked, shocked, I say, that there was gambling going on in this here casino!

 

Written by turbotodd

September 29, 2017 at 3:32 pm

Tweet More, iPhone Less

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Having trouble writing everything you want to write on Twitter in 140 characters or less?

Well, Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen feels your pain and wrote that “We want every person around the world to easily express themselves on Twitter, so we’re doing something new: we’re going to try out a longer limit, 280 characters, in languages impacted by cramming (which is all except Japanese, Chinese, and Korean).”

This feature will be available to only a small number of users for now (and it wasn’t clear at press time if President Donald J. Trump would be included in the pilot).

For my money, Twitter has always been about less being more. I have to “cram” all the time, and I avoid sending episodic Tweets at all cost. Call me old school.

In the meanwhile, over on the sidelines, Facebook has just inked a multiyear deal with NFL to distribute game highlights and other content, and in return, NFL Films will produce content packages for Facebook Watch.

It was unclear at press time whether Mark Zuckerberg would be standing or kneeling.

If you just feel like hitting the open road with not a care in the world, you might want to keep an eye on Ford and Lyft’s new partnership to develop and test autonomous vehicle designs and technology. The destination: To put Ford’s cars on Lyft’s networks. No comment yet from G.M., one of Lyft’s biggest investors and partners.

Could be very awkward out there on the autonomous Route 66!

And as if Apple needed any more production headaches after their recent and marvelous launch shindig? First there was a software issue with the Apple Watch Series 3 which caused the Watch to connect to unauthenticated Wi-Fi networks instead of handing off to LTE.

Then there was news that there have been production issues with the new Face ID componentry that has something to do with manufacturing yields for the “Romeo” modules (the “Juliet” modules are producing just fine, but hey, you can’t have a Juliet without a Romeo. That’s just bad Shakespeare…and juju!)

And now, the iPhone 8 has a “crackling” earpiece that’s disrupting the audio experience when people try to make phone calls.

To which I ask, who makes phone calls using an iPhone anymore??

 

Written by turbotodd

September 27, 2017 at 9:13 am

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