Twit­ter cuts sus­pect users from fol­lower counts again, blames bug

The Sunday Guardian - - & Comment Analysis - SAN FRAN­CISCO REUTERS

Twit­ter Inc made an­other at­tempt to make users’ tal­lies of fol­low­ers more ac­cu­rate on Fri­day, sub­tract­ing mil­lions of sus­pi­cious fol­low­ers which had reap­peared on the so­cial me­dia ser­vice since a ma­jor purge in July.

Twit­ter is un­der pres­sure to tackle its prob­lem of fake users, which are a turn-off for in­vestors and ad­ver­tis­ers and have led to scrutiny from US Con­gress.

The com­pany made Fri­day’s move with­out an an­nounce­ment. Pop star Katy Perry lost about 861,000 fol­low­ers, ac­cord­ing to so­cial mea­sure­ment firm So­cial Blade. Twit­ter’s own ac­count lost 2.4 mil­lion fol­low­ers.

In July, Twit­ter said it would stop count­ing ac- counts it “locked” as fol­low­ers, in an ef­fort to make its user data more ac­cu­rate. At least seven celebri­ties lost as many as 2 mil­lion fol­low­ers each.

By Oc­to­ber, how­ever, many of those ac­counts ap­peared to have been un­locked - which can hap­pen af­ter a pass­word re­set - and at least two dozen pop­u­lar users had gained back a third or so of the lost fol­low­ers, ac­cord­ing to data from Rus­sian ad fraud re­searcher So­cial Puncher.

Those fol­low­ers dis­ap­peared once again on Fri­day, So­cial Puncher said.

Twit­ter said on Fri­day that it “dis­cov­ered a bug where some of th­ese ac­counts were briefly added back, which led to mis­lead­ing fol­lower counts” for “very few ac­counts.”

It said in July that fol- lower counts might change “more reg­u­larly” as part of its ef­forts to “iden­tify and chal­lenge prob­lem­atic ac­counts.” The en­su­ing volatil­ity has caught the at­ten­tion of prom­i­nent users, in­clud­ing US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Tesla Inc Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Elon Musk.

They and other users lost fol­low­ers in re­cent days, but Fri­day’s cull was larger for most, ac­cord­ing to sev­eral ac­counts Reuters re­viewed on So­cial Blade.

Twit­ter’s own ac­count fell by 7.8 mil­lion fol­low­ers in July but gained back 2.36 mil­lion by mid-Oc­to­ber. It lost 2.4 mil­lion on Fri­day, ac­cord­ing to So­cial Blade.

Some users ex­pe­ri­enced a sim­i­lar drop in early Oc­to­ber, be­fore the fol­low­ers re­turned days later, So­cial Puncher said. Stocks have taken a ter­ri­ble beat­ing in the last month and we feel that two pub­lic sec­tor un­der­tak­ings, IRCON In­ter­na­tional and En­gi­neers In­dia, hav­ing ro­bust busi­nesses and fi­nan­cials, should give a de­cent ap­pre­ci­a­tion over the next one year on the back of gov­ern­ment spend­ing. IRCON In­ter­na­tional is an in­te­grated en­gi­neer­ing and con­struc­tion com­pany spe­cial­is­ing in ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture projects in­clud­ing rail­ways, high­ways, fly­overs, bridges, tun­nels and de­vel­op­ment of in­dus­trial ar­eas. More than 95% of the com­pany’s busi­ness is from rail­way con­struc­tion, and pro­posed in­vest­ment in key seg­ments such as new lines, gauge con­ver­sion, dou­bling, track re­newals and elec­tri­fi­ca­tion should ac­count for a fan­tas­tic or­der book in the next three years. Cur­rently, the or­der book of IRCON In­ter­na­tional stands at over Rs 23,000 crore. The IRCON In­ter­na­tional stock was of­fered to the pub­lic in Septem­ber 2018 at Rs 475 per share. It has had a tepid list­ing and cur­rently quotes at Rs 385 on the ex­changes. An­a­lysts are ex­pect­ing the stock price to ap­pre­ci­ate by 20% in the next one year, and so it is a good fun­da­men­tal buy for sure. En­gi­neers In­dia Ltd is a Navratna pub­lic sec­tor un­der­tak­ing of Gov­ern­ment of In­dia un­der the Min­istry of Pe­tro­leum and Nat­u­ral Gas set up in 1965 to pro­vide en­gi­neer­ing and re­lated tech­ni­cal ser­vices for pe­tro­leum re­finer­ies and other in­dus­trial projects. To­day, EIL is a global en­gi­neer­ing con­sul­tancy and EPC com­pany at par with other sim­i­lar com­pa­nies around the world. Over the years, it has diver­si­fied into in­fra­struc­ture, wa­ter and waste man­age­ment, so­lar and nu­clear power and the fer­tiliser sec­tors. En­gi­neers In­dia is a to­tal so­lu­tions en­gi­neer­ing con­sul­tancy com­pany, pro­vid­ing de­sign, en­gi­neer­ing pro­cure­ment, con­struc­tion and in­te­grated project man­age­ment ser­vices from con­cept to com­mis­sion­ing, with high qual­ity and safety stan­dards. The com­pany’s tech­no­log­i­cal ex­cel­lence is driven by around 2,400 en­gi­neers and pro­fes­sion­als pro­vid­ing spe­cial­ist pro­fes­sional ser­vices for their projects. The gov­ern­ment is spend­ing money on capex and En­gi­neers In­dia is a di­rect ben­e­fi­ciary by get­ting most of the prized con­tracts. Pub­lic sec­tor un­der­tak­ings are ex­pected to pump in over Rs 1 lakh crore for their cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture plans, with In­dian Oil Cor­po­ra­tion lin­ing up Rs 22,000 crore for the cur­rent fis­cal. Sim­i­larly, HPCL has also planned to in­vest Rs 75,000 crore over the next five years to ex­pand its re­fin­ing ca­pac­ity, pipe­lines and LNG ter­mi­nals. It has also bagged a project ex­e­cu­tion or­der from HPCL Ra­jasthan re­fin­ery to build a green­field pe­tro­leum chem­i­cal com­plex in Barmer, Ra­jasthan. Th­ese huge capex plans by oil pub­lic sec­tor un­der­tak­ings should boost the or­der in­flow, rev­enue and profit of En­gi­neers In­dia Ltd to a large ex­tent for the cur­rent fi­nan­cial year. Most fund man­agers and an­a­lysts are bet­ting on En­gi­neers In­dia stock cur­rently quot­ing at Rs 121 on the bourses to ap­pre­ci­ate by at least 20% over the next one year on the back of bet­ter re­sults on fun­da­men­tal ba­sis. Ra­jiv Kapoor is a share bro­ker, cer­ti­fied mu­tual fund ex­pert and MDRT in­sur­ance agent.

REUTERS

Women walk at the Syria sec­tion of the Bagh­dad In­ter­na­tional Fair in Iraq on Satur­day.

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