Twitter announced that it was banning 7000 QAnon accounts and limiting the spread of 150,000 others in an effort to address violations of their terms of service, and how Qanon activities on Twitter often led to harmful actions in real spaces beyond the internet.
The social media giant said it would also stop recommending content linked to QAnon and block URLs associated with it from being shared on the platform.
QAnon is a sprawling conspiracy theory whose followers support President Donald Trump.
Twitter said it hoped the action would help to prevent “offline harm”.
In a statement shared on the platform, Twitter said it would permanently suspend accounts that violate its policies while tweeting about QAnon.
The suspensions will be applied to accounts that are “engaged in violations of our multi-account policy, coordinating abuse around individual victims, or are attempting to evade a previous suspension – something we’ve seen more of in recent weeks,” the statement said.
President Donald Trump has re-tweeted three controversial videos from British far-right group Britain First.
The first tweet from Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain First, claims to show a Muslim migrant attacking a man on crutches.
It was followed by two more videos of people Jayda Fransen claims to be Muslim.
Responding to President Trump’s posts, UK PM Theresa May’s official spokesman said it was “wrong for the president to have done this”.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said PM Theresa May and other world leaders knew that “these are real threats that we have to talk about”.
“Whether it’s a real video, the threat is real,” Sarah Sanders said.
“I think it’s important to talk about national security and national security threats. The president sees different things to be national security threats, and he sees having strong borders as being one of the things that helps protect people in this country from some real threats that we face.”
According to a recent research, more than four times as many tweets were made by automated accounts in favor of Donald Trump around the first presidential debate as by those backing rival Hillary Clinton.
The study found Donald Trump would have enjoyed more support on Twitter even if the accounts – known as bots – had not been active.
However, the research highlights that the software has the capacity to “manipulate public opinion” and “muddy political issues”.
The report has yet to be peer-reviewed.
Photo Getty Images
One critic noted that it was impossible to be completely sure which accounts were real and which were “web robots”.
The research was led by Prof. Philip Howard, from the University of Oxford, and is part of a wider project exploring “computational propaganda”.
The investigation covered tweets posted on September 26, the day of the debate, plus the three days afterwards, and relied on popular hashtags linked to the event.
First, the researchers identified accounts that exclusively posted messages containing hashtags associated with one candidate but not the other.
These accounted for about 1.8 million pro-Trump tweets and 613,000 pro-Clinton posts.
The researchers then analyzed which of these had been posted by bots. They identified an account as such if it had tweeted at least 50 times a day across the period, meaning a minimum of 200 tweets over the four days.
The results suggested that 32.7% of such pro-Trump tweets had been posted by bots and 22.3% of such pro-Clinton ones.
In total, that represented a total of 576,178 tweets benefiting Donald Trump and 136,639 in support of Hillary Clinton.
Prof. Philip Howard said: “On the balance of probabilities, if you pulled out a heavily automated account the odds are four to one that you’ll find it’s a bot tweeting in favor of Trump.”
There is no suggestion, however, that bots were generated by either of the official Presidential campaign groups.
“We are not looking at the source, who is working on the bots or to what end, merely the metrics of the data,” said Prof. Philip Howard.
Looking wider – to accounts that tweeted neutral hashtags or a mix of different kinds – the study suggested that 23% of all the tweets were driven by bots.
One machine learning expert cautions that the criteria used to identify the bots might have been too imprecise to have sifted out all the human-based activity.
So, is it possible that Donald Trump supporters might simply have been more enthusiastic than Hillary Clinton’s and have done a better job at leveraging social media to their advantage?
Prof. Philip Howard said that it is unlikely to be the only explanation.
“Most of the heavy automation and tweets happened overnight and shared similar hashtags and information,” he says.
“They show behavior that is not human and often don’t have comments [about other issues apart from] the particular topic in question.”
Prof. Philip Howard adds that the 50-tweets-a-day rule was borne out by analysis of posts made during a past Venezuelan election and the Brexit vote.
In both cases, his team double-checked a sample of accounts that had been flagged as bots and confirmed they displayed other characteristics of being inhuman.
Indian PM Narendra Modi has wished Afghan President Ashraf Ghani a happy birthday on a wrong date.
Narendra Modi tweeted his best wishes to Ashraf Ghani, writing: “Praying for your long life & exceptional health and a joyful journey ahead.”
Ashraf Ghani gently responded on Twitter only to point out his birthday is, in fact, on May 19: “Greetings from Munich Mr. PM. Although my Birthday is on 19th May, but I’d still like to thank you for your gracious words.”
Ashraf Ghani’s profile on Google lists his birthday as being on February 12, which may explain the mistake.
It is not known if Narendra Modi himself wrote the erroneous tweet. His posts are reportedly written by his social media manager, Hiren Joshi.
Also, it is unlikely Ashraf Ghani, who is at Munich Security Conference, wrote the polite reply, as any posts written by the president himself are signed AG.
Given there at least 22.2 million Twitter users in India and that Ashraf Ghani has more than 176,000 followers, the mistake was spotted by plenty of people.
One Twitter user in India, replied to Ashraf Ghani: “We don’t care when you b’day is , if our honorable PM has wished you today, we will celebrate it today.”
Another, Richard Rego, said it was “the biggest international joke from someone occupying the biggest chair in the biggest democracy”.
Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has described Donald Trump as a “disgrace to America”.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said on Twitter that Donald Trump should give up his presidential ambitions because he would never win.
It follows the Republican presidential hopeful’s call for Muslims to be barred from entering the US for security reasons.
Donald Trump tweeted back, calling the prince “dopey”.
“You are a disgrace not only to the GOP [Republican Party] but to all America,” Prince Alwaleed bin Talal tweeted.
“Withdraw from the US presidential race as you will never win.”
Donald Trump responded by accusing the prince of wanting to use what he called “daddy’s money” to control US politicians.
That would not happen, Donald Trump said, when he got elected.
The real estate mogul has been widely criticized for his call for a ban on Muslims entering the US.
On December 10, Damac Properties – a Dubai company building a golf complex with Donald Trump – removed his name and image from the property.
Donald Trump’s comments came following the San Bernardino shootings, carried out by two Muslims who the FBI said were radicalized.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, 60, is the nephew of King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud. He completed a business degree in California in 1979.
The prince was named world’s richest Arab in Forbes’ 2015 list as he worth an estimated $32 billion.
He has stakes in Disney, 21st Century Fox, News Corp, Apple, GM, Twitter, and a string of hotel chains and luxury hotels, including the Plaza in New York and the George V in Paris.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is the owner of 95% of Kingdom Holdings, a publicly-traded company on the Saudi stock exchange. He is considered Westernized and progressive on most issues. He champions women’s rights and most of his staff are women.
Former senior Google executive Omid Kordestani has been appointed as the new executive chairman of Twitter.
Omid Kordestani, 53, joined Google in 1999 and held various senior roles before leaving a decade later.
He returned last year as Chief Business Officer to advise on Google’s rebranding to Alphabet.
“It’s rare you get to be at a company with an amazing business that’s also transforming the world,” he tweeted. “I’ve had good fortune to be at three: Netscape, @google, and now @twitter.”
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Omid Kordestani was a “proven and experienced leader” who would coach him and other senior executives as well as help attract top talent to the company.
“A great chairperson is the first step towards continuing to make our board one of the best in the world, and purpose-built to serve Twitter,” he tweeted.
Twitter had said it would seek an external appointment as chairman in a bid to allay concerns about Jack Dorsey’s dual role as Twitter boss and chief executive of Square, the mobile payments company he founded.
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey replaced Dick Costolo, who stepped down in July after five years in the role amid pressure to increase growth.
It is his second stint as Twitter boss, having held the position between May 2007 and October 2008.
Twitter shares rose 0.7% to $29.26 following the announcement.
However, the shares are still down almost 30% from the level at which it floated in late 2013.
Tehran-born Omid Kordestani’s appointment comes a day after Twitter said it was cutting 336 jobs, or about 8% of its global workforce, as part of a restructuring to cut costs.
Dick Costolo has resigned as Twitter CEO, the social messaging company has announced.
Twitter’s co-founder Jack Dorsey will take over as interim chief on July 1 and stay until a replacement can be found.
Dick Costolo had been under pressure from investors unhappy with the company’s user growth.
In a statement, Dick Costolo said he was “tremendously proud of the Twitter team”.
Twitter said that its board had formed a committee to undertake the task of finding a successor.
Following the announcement, Twitter shares jumped by more than 7% in trading after US markets had closed.
Twitter debuted on the NYSE in 2013 but has not been adding users as fast as investors had hoped.
In April, Twitter missed Wall Street’s forecasts for revenue growth and posted a net loss of $162 million.
Its share price has declined nearly 30% since then, and is currently trading below the price it debuted at in 2013.
Analysts remain pessimistic about the company’s ability to grow.
The research consultancy eMarketer estimates that Twitter’s monthly user base will grow just 14.1% this year, slowing from more than 30% two years ago.
By 2019, eMarketer says Twitter’s user growth rate will be just 6% worldwide.
Announcing his resignation, Dick Costolo said in a statement: “I am tremendously proud of the Twitter team and all that the team has accomplished together during my six years with the company.”
On a conference call to discuss the move, Dick Costolo added that he had decided to go now because he felt the continued scrutiny if he remained would be a “distraction” and of “no help to the company”.
Questioned on what the board was looking for in its next chief executive, Jack Dorsey said the search team would take as long as necessary, the candidate could come from inside or outside the company but added the one criteria they knew for sure: he or she should be a Twitter user.
Jack Dorsey said the most important attribute was that they “really use and love the product in every single way”.
Dick Costolo will remain on the board of the company. He has been a director since September 2009 and became CEO in October 2010.
Prince William and Kate Middleton’s baby No 2’s birth announcement will be made via Twitter, People magazine reported.
Once the second royal baby is born at St. Mary’s hospital in London, the news will be announced via an official email and Kensington Palace will update its social media accounts, including Twitter and Instagram.
The royal baby tweets and Instagram posts will announce the baby’s gender, time of birth, and weight.
In January 2015, Kate Middleton, Prince William, and Prince Harry officially joined Twitter and Instagram under the handle @KensingtonRoyal.
As with Prince George’s birth in 2013, a birth notice will be placed on an easel outside of Buckingham Palace that will include the baby’s gender, weight and time of birth.
For the first time, a royal announcement will be a mix of tradition and technology.
Prince William and Kate Middleton will make the traditional appearance on the steps of the hospital when they leave.
Weeks ago, parking restrictions were put in place outside of that legendary brown door where Prince Will and Kate Middleton will present their baby to the world, much like they did when Prince George was born.
A sign outside of the hospital says the restrictions are in place for a “special event”.
Kate Middleton’s pregnancy with the second royal baby is overdue, but according to a new report, a birth should be expected within days.
Turkish net companies have been ordered to block access to social media sites to stop the sharing of photos of Mehmet Selim Kiraz, who was taken hostage during last week’s armed siege in Istanbul.
A Turkish court has told Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more than 150 other sites to remove images taken during the siege.
The block on Facebook and Twitter was lifted after the two social networks complied with the court order.
Currently, YouTube remains blocked in Turkey.
Before imposing the blocks on the websites, Turkish authorities had moved to stop newspapers printing the images.
The newspapers were accused by the government of disseminating “terrorist propaganda” for the DHKP-C group that was reportedly behind the attack on the courthouse. The DHKP-C is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the EU and US.
The siege ended with the gunmen and their hostage being killed when police stormed the building in a rescue bid.
Mehmet Selim Kiraz was apparently taken hostage because he headed an investigation into the death of a boy during anti-government protests that took place in 2013.
The pictures showing attackers holding a gun to Mehmet Selim Kiraz’s head were being widely shared on social media, leading authorities to act, reported Turkish newspaper Hurriyet.
“The wife and children of prosecutor Kiraz have been deeply upset. The images are everywhere,” a senior Turkish official told the Reuters news agency.
In total, 166 websites which shared the images were blocked by the court order.
YouTube published the text of the court ruling on its website saying an “administration measure” had been enacted by Turkey’s telecoms authority. It said it was seeking ways to restore access.
Facebook was also subject to the same block but it is believed the restrictions on it were lifted because it removed the images before the expiration of a deadline imposed by the court. Twitter reacted more slowly and access to the messaging system was blocked for several hours on April 6.
The US Central Command’s Twitter and YouTube accounts have been suspended after being hacked by a group claiming to back Islamic State.
One message on Centcom’s Twitter feed said: “American soldiers, we are coming, watch your back.”
It was signed by ISIS, another name for the Islamic State. Some internal military documents also appeared on the Centcom Twitter feed.
Centcom said it viewed the breach as “cyber-vandalism” and not serious.
In a statement, the military command said there was no operational impact and no classified information was posted.
“We are viewing this purely as a case of cyber-vandalism,” it said.
The hack happened as President Barack Obama was giving a speech on cyber-security.
Reflecting on major breaches like a recent hack of Sony Pictures, President Barack Obama said in his speech the US had been reminded of “enormous vulnerabilities for us as a nation and for our economy”.
Barack Obama’s spokesman Josh Earnest said the US is looking into the Centcom hacking.
He said they were investigating the extent of the incident, and that there was a significant difference between a large data breach and the hacking of a Twitter account.
An unnamed Pentagon official told Reuters the hacking was an embarrassment but did not appear to be a security threat.
Malaysia Airlines apologized for a year-end promotion tweet that draw anger after it inadvertently drew parallels with the still-missing MH370 flight.
“Want to go somewhere but don’t know where?” read the post on Twitter that was meant to promote special deals by Malaysia Airlines, prompting scorn from online users.
Malaysia Airlines said the tweet “was intended to inspire travelers during this holiday period to explore destinations and deals” it was offering.
“Unfortunately, it unintentionally caused offence to some, and we have since removed the tweet,” it said in a brief statement.
It is the second time Malaysia Airlines, which has been devastated by the loss of 537 people in two air tragedies this year, has run into criticism over its advertising recently.
In September, the airlines said it had changed the name of a ticket-sale promotion that invoked an “inappropriate” death reference by asking travelers which places were on their “Bucket List”.
Bookings have plummeted due to the two disasters.
MH370 vanished in March with 239 passengers and crew aboard when it inexplicably diverting from its Kuala Lumpur-Beijing course. It is believed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean, but no trace has been found.
MH17 went down in July – believed hit by a surface-to-air missile – in rebellion-torn eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 aboard.
Malaysia Airlines said on November 28 its Q3 loss widened 54% year-on-year in the wake of the disasters that have sent its business into a tailspin and prompted a government rescue.
President George W. Bush sent an incredible reply after President Bill Clinton asked why he wasn’t on Twitter on November 12.
Bill Clinton questioned George W. Bush with a tweet saying he received his copy of 41: A Portrait of My Father, the biography of former President George H.W. Bush written by his son.
In the message, Bill Clinton asked why George W. Bush had not joined Twitter.
George Bush responded on another social media site, Instagram. He asked why Bill Clinton didn’t have an Instagram account. His message included the hashtag “#BrotherFromAnotherMother”.
“Thanks, 42! Hope you like the book about your pal, #41. #HowAreYouSTILLNotOnInstagram #PresidentialGrammers?”
This is almost certainly the first time two former presidents have referred to themselves as brothers from another mother.
Both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton could find themselves involved in the 2016 presidential race. Bill Clinton’s wife, Hillary Clinton, is widely considered the Democratic frontrunner and there is mounting speculation George Bush’s brother, former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush, could run on the Republican side.
Naomi Campbell took to Twitter just hours after Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to add to her thoughts on the occasion.
Naomi Campbell, 44, appeared to fall foul of autocorrect, spelling the Pakistani teenager’s name “malaria” and drawing an instant chorus of dismay from eagle-eyed Twitter users.
Malala Yousafzai, 17, became the youngest person in history to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, October 10.
Naomi Campbell took to Twitter just hours after Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to add to her thoughts on the occasion
Naomi Campbell’s offending tweet, which was still on the site more than seven hours after being posted, also included a link to an Instagram picture of the women’s education campaigner.
On the picture Malala Yousafzai is quoted: “I speak not for myself but for those without a voice – those who have fought for their right to live in peace.”
But once again the supermodel misspelt her name, tagging @malaria, an unknown Instagram user, in the post instead of the new Nobel laureate.
The super model later tweeted a correction, claiming her phone “spat out” the wrong spelling of Malala Yousafzai’s name.
The peace prize was awarded jointly to Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthifrom India, “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education”.