Latest in Security

Image credit:

Twitter is notifying anyone who followed a Russian spam account

As well as folks who retweeted or liked their messages.
David Lumb, @OutOnALumb
January 19, 2018
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Dado Ruvic / Reuters

Last week, Twitter missed the deadline Congress set to turn over information on Russia-backed meddling in the 2016 election. Today, the social media company posted a public update on their internal investigation. First, they found thousands of additional accounts associated with the Russian government-linked Internet Research Agency (IRA). But most importantly, Twitter is emailing notifications to everyone in the US who inadvertently followed one or retweeted or liked one of their messages -- which is some 677,775 people.

In effect, that's a simple measure of the impact that the IRA's accounts had. Twitter identified 1,062 additional accounts, bringing the total to 3,814; In the ten-week period before the 2016 election that the company studied, those IRA accounts posted 175,993 tweets. Only 8.4% were related to the upcoming elections, but that's still a wide impact that the Twitter platform unwittingly amplified.

Twitter also identified 13,512 more automated Russian-linked accounts that tweeted election-related material during the period, bringing that total to 50,258. In the company's blog post, it also reported better security techniques detected 60 percent more suspicious accounts last month than it did in October 2017. They're getting better at noticing automated activity, Twitter claims: Near-instant replies to tweets, too-regular Tweet timing and coordinated engagement are all red flags.

Twitter will invest more in machine-learning to spot and impede fake and automated accounts, the blog post stated. But popular multitasking overlay programs like Tweetdeck might suffer as the social media company may limit coordinated actions (known as "Tweetdecking") across multiple accounts "in Tweetdeck and via the Twitter API." To counter that, they promise to expand the developer onboarding process for those building atop the platform's API. (Twitter acquired Tweetdeck in 2011 and still runs it.)

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Apple shuffles hardware execs to make room for a mysterious new project

Apple shuffles hardware execs to make room for a mysterious new project

View
Google reveals North Korean-backed campaign targeting security researchers

Google reveals North Korean-backed campaign targeting security researchers

View
Polk Audio claims React is the 'most advanced Alexa-enabled soundbar'

Polk Audio claims React is the 'most advanced Alexa-enabled soundbar'

View
A personal trainer app guilt-tripped me into exercising (and it worked)

A personal trainer app guilt-tripped me into exercising (and it worked)

View
Scientists find a cloudless 'hot Jupiter' exoplanet with a four-day year

Scientists find a cloudless 'hot Jupiter' exoplanet with a four-day year

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr