Using Extremist Politics to Make Money on Twitter

I was searching for “Sessions” and “Russia” on twitter and found a series a similar posts published within minutes of one another as you can see below from the time stamps.

I then clicked on some of these and it turns out that not only these post are near identical, but that they have similar features: same posts, same links and same number of tweets (around 10.7k).

Crucially, if you click on the link viid.me…. it will take you to an advertisement. So it seems as though all these accounts are automated. They relay highly charged political news and bait people into clicking on those links to make advertising money.

Here is a video I recorded that summarises all of the above.

Net Neutrality

When Donald Trump pulled off a stunning victory to win the U.S. presidency, the entire world began to speculate about what a Trump administration will look like. As the chief executive of a native advertising network, I — and many others that work in digital media — am keeping a particularly close eye on how…

via The implications of the end of net neutrality — TechCrunch

Graffiti In London’s Brick Lane

Is This Twitter Account Fake? Here Are The Features You Should Be Looking For!

As I was reading through the tweets with a #trident hashtag I found a succession of tweets from different accounts that were identical and posted within seconds of one another.

#trident twitter accounts.png

What is the likelihood that a dozen different people with distinct first and last names post the same thing at almost the same time?

So I went on to investigate a little further and here is what I found.

  • These accounts follow between 70 to 100 people.
  • They in turn are followed by 50 to 70.
  • In terms of post, some like Josh Wallace and Sarah Bentall have posted 12.5k times while others likeLayla Hare and Mandy Blume. have posted very close to 5800 times.
  • They tend to follow one another, so for instance, Mandy Blume, follows Jaime Frazer who follows Layla Hare who follows back Mandy Blume.
  • They post only news links in the same order at the same time.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

It is difficult to believe that a dozen humans would have such a coordinated pattern of posting. More like this is the result of algorithmic posting. This is not unlike a similar pattern I had found on Linkedin earlier this year.

This suggests that if we wanted to find out a way to identify non-human twitter accounts we should look for the following features:

  • small to negligible standard deviation in terms of
    • followers
    • following
    • number of times
    • time of posting
    • date accounts created
  •  90% or more similarity in posts
  • accounts link to one another to make the numbers and influence analytics

China launches US$14.6 Billion Internet Investment Fund

According to  China has set-up a fund that will eventually reach 100 billion yuan (US $14.55 billion) to support investment in the internet sector.

For now, the agency states that “30 billion yuan from state-owned banks and enterprises, including the ICBC, which invested 10 billion yuan.”

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>China launches 14.6 bln USD Internet investment fund, with Internet users rising to 731 million <a href=”https://t.co/17pAvIaOfh”>https://t.co/17pAvIaOfh</a&gt; <a href=”https://t.co/UaDeKH1xiT”>pic.twitter.com/UaDeKH1xiT</a></p>&mdash; China Xinhua News (@XHNews) <a href=”https://twitter.com/XHNews/status/823189174056603649″>January 22, 2017</a></blockquote>
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Trump’s Deflection Tactics

Earlier today Trump tweeted the following.

In other words, we are lead to conclude that the network AONN (One American News Network) has conducted its own independent research and that this investigation found that Trump dossier is false.

Trump does not provide a link to any story on AONN, not even the link to the channel itself, just the twitter account.

Indeed, if you search for “complete fraud” nothing that relates to the Trump dossier exists.

So the tactic is as follows, deflect attention to another source and hope that most people will not bother to search further.

One American News Network is owned by Herring Network Inc. According to Bloomberg, it has no key executives recorded. In other words we don’t know who is behind it.

One America News Network

Where is the fraud report?

Microsoft’s plan to use machine learning to improve eyecare in India — TechCrunch

Competition that results in better care for people suffering from visual impairments is the right kind of competition. Following a path similar to that of Google’s DeepMind, Microsoft India announced this morning that it’s launching a new research group, the Microsoft Intelligent Network for Eyecare, to bring data-driven eyecare services to India. Whereas DeepMind’s… Read More

via Microsoft’s plan to use machine learning to improve eyecare in India — TechCrunch