Twitter users to submit email addresses in battle with bots
TWITTER has unveiled new measures to clamp down on online abuse, including requiring users to confirm email addresses and phone numbers, as it continues to battle against bots, trolls and spam.
In a blog post this week, Twitter said an update will be rolled out later this year requiring new users to confirm either an email address or phone number when signing up, to “make it harder to register spam accounts”.
It said it would also be conducting an audit of its systems used to create accounts, to make sure they included security checks to prevent automated sign-ups, and would be reducing the visibility of suspicious accounts, by preventing users from following them and removing them from follower figures. The measures are the latest in a series of updates Twitter has rolled out over the past year, in the wake of revelations over Russian bots being involved in a number of votes, including the US election and the EU referendum.
Writing on Twitter earlier this year, chief executive Jack Dorsey said: “We have witnessed abuse, harassment, troll armies, manipulation through bots and human coordination, misinformation campaigns, and increasingly divisive echo chambers.”
He added: “We aren’t proud of how people have taken advantage of our service, or our inability to address it fast enough.”
Last month, Twitter said it would start hiding tweets from users who displayed “troll-like” characteristics, such as setting up multiple accounts and repeatedly tweeting at users who do not follow them, and it recently bought a security start-up, Smyte, in its first acquisition since late 2016.
In the post on Tuesday, Twitter said it was now removing 214pc more accounts for violating its spam policies on a year-on-year basis.
In May, its systems identified more than 9.9m “potentially spammy or automated accounts” per week, up from 6.4m in December 2017.
“These numbers tell us that our tools are working: we’re preventing or catching more of this activity ourselves before you ever see it on Twitter,” the company said.