Posts tagged with "Social media platform"

Twitter whacks 32,000 state-linked agitprop accounts from Russia, China, and Turkey

June 15, 2020

Twitter has announced that it has shut down 32,242 accounts linked to the governments of Russia, China and Turkey that are peddling disinformation, The Huffington Post reports.

“Every account and piece of content associated” with “three distinct operations … attributed to the People’s Republic of China, Russia and Turkey” have been “permanently removed from the service,” the social media company said in a statement on Thursday, June 11.

Twitter and other social media companies were harshly criticized in the wake of the 2016 presidential election for failing to curb propaganda—especially from accounts launched by the Kremlin in an apparent bid to sway the election in Donald Trump’s favor.

Twitter on Thursday reemphasized the company’s vow to provide more vigorous and transparent action to weed out false conversations being peddled to manipulate a nation’s politics.

“Ultimately our goal is to serve the public conversation, remove bad faith actors, and to advance public understanding of these critical topics,” Twitter said. 

According to the HuffPost, the social media platform went on to note, “We’re disclosing new state-linked information operations to our public archive — the only one of its kind in the industry. Originating from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Russia, and Turkey, all associated accounts and content have been removed. https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2020/information-operations-june-2020.html 

Twitter provided few details about specific content campaigns, and most of the affected accounts appeared to be aimed at manipulating citizens inside the three nations.

Specifically, Twitter removed 1,152 accounts (which, the company said, had tweeted 3.4 million times) associated with Current Policy, a “media website engaging in state-backed political propaganda within Russia,” including activities “promoting the United Russia party and attacking political dissidents,” according to the company.

The accounts, which also disseminated “anti-Western content,” violated Twitter policy because they engaged in “cross-posting and amplifying content in an inauthentic, coordinated manner for political ends,” the company said.

The 7,340 “fake and compromised accounts” in Turkey (which tweeted 36.9 million times) were linked to the youth wing of the ruling Justice and Development Party, and were used primarily to “amplify political narratives favorable” to the ruling party and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to Twitter.

The 23,750 accounts (tweeted 348,608 times) linked to the Chinese government were tweeting mostly in Chinese languages and “spreading geopolitical narratives favorable to the Communist Party of China, while continuing to push deceptive narratives about the political dynamics in Hong Kong,” Twitter said. Tweets also praised China’s response to COVID-19, especially compared with how the U.S. or Taiwan addressed the pandemic.

The Huffington Post notes that the messages removed by Twitter have been archived for study and have been shared with researchers at the Internet Observatory of Stanford University and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Research contact: @HuffPost

 

 

Elliott Management buys stake in Twitter; looks to replace CEO @jack Dorsey

March 3, 2020

Hedge fund Elliott Management has taken a sizable stake—although it won’t say just how much- in the San Francisco-based social network Twitter  and plans to push for changes at the company, including replacing Founder and Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey, according to people familiar with the matter.

According to a report by Reuters, Twitter is one of the few U.S. technology companies headed, but not controlled, by one of its founders. It has given shareholders equal voting rights, making Dorsey, who owns only about 2% of the company, vulnerable to a challenge from an activist investor such as Elliott.

And word is out that Elliot would like to see Dorsey go. NPR reported on March 1 that Elliott is concerned that Dorsey hasn’t focused enough on Twitter, because he is also chief executive of payments company Square. The hedge fund is pushing for a CEO whose sole job is running Twitter.

Adding pressure, Elliott has nominated four directors to the company’s board, according to two people familiar with the matter, NPR said. The two sides have had constructive talks, according to the people, who were not authorized to speak publicly. Twitter and Elliott declined to comment.

The worry is that under Dorsey’s leadership, Twitter is not poised to capitalize on a flood of news this year—including the U.S. presidential election, the summer Olympic Games in Tokyo—and the coronavirus outbreak, that could attract people and advertisers to the platform.

Elliott approached San Francisco-based Twitter about its concerns privately and has had constructive discussions with it since then, the people said.

Twitter has been a potential target for activist investors for years, according to Bloomberg News. The company only has one class of stock, the news outlet notes, which means co-founder Dorsey doesn’t have voting control of the company like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg or Snapchat co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy.

Research contact: @NPR

Among social media users, Facebook rules

March 14, 2018

Facebook remains America’s most popular social media platform, with roughly two-thirds of U.S. adults (68%) self-identifying as users and about 75% of them catching up with their “friends” at least once a day, based on findings of a poll by The Pew Research Center released on March 1.

With the exception of those 65 and older, most Americans across a wide range of demographic groups now use Facebook, the poll of 2,002 Americans over the age of 18 concluded.

Only YouTube gets more traffic, with 73% of respondents noting that they visit the site regularly. The video-sharing site—which contains many social elements, even if it is not a traditional social media platform—is now used by nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults and 94% of 18- to 24-year-olds.

In line with that trend, some 78% of 18- to 24-year-olds use Snapchat—whether or not Kylie Jenner loves it anymore—and a sizeable majority of these users (71%) visit the platform multiple times per day. Similarly, 71% of Americans in this age group now use Instagram and close to half (45%) are Twitter users.

Of course, that’s not counting President Donald Trump, whom Fox News says has given Twitter “a big boost.” He even fires his high-level employees via the platform—which he used on March 13 to oust Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and install CIA Director Mike Pompeo in his place.

Several other platforms are popular among special interest groups, including:

  • Pinterest, which remains substantially more popular among women (41% of whom say they use the site) than men (16%).
  • LinkedIn, which continues to be especially popular among college graduates and those in high-income households. Some 50% of Americans with a college degree use LinkedIn, compared with just 9% of those with a high school diploma or less.
  • WhatsApp, a messaging service that is particularly popular in Latin America, and this following extends to Latinos in the United States—with 49% of Hispanics reporting that they are WhatsApp users, compared with 14% of whites and 21% of blacks.

Finally, the share of social media users who say these platforms would be hard to give up has increased by 12 percentage points compared with a survey conducted in early 2014. But by the same token, a majority of users (59%) say it would not be hard to stop using these sites—including 29% who say it would not be hard at all to give up social media.

Research contact: tcaiazza@pewresearch.org