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posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday June 03 2020, @05:08PM   Printer-friendly
from the but-it-was-on-the-internets! dept.

Twitter suspends hundreds over #DCBlackout hoax:

Twitter has suspended hundreds of accounts for spreading claims about a Washington DC "blackout" which never happened.

Amid widespread civil unrest in the US, thousands of tweets using the #DCBlackout hashtag claimed that communications had been blocked in the capital to cripple protests.

But there was no evidence of this.

Twitter also said it had banned an account for inciting violence while impersonating a protest group.

The #DCBlackout hashtag trended on Twitter on Monday, with millions of tweets and retweets claiming that internet and phone communications were cut late in the night as the protests continued.

But reporters covering the protests had no such problems, and Twitter collated several of their tweets into a prominent link in Twitter's main website sidebar. An internet monitoring service also said there was no indication of any widespread disruption.

A Twitter spokesperson said the social media site had "suspended hundreds of spammy accounts" that used the #DCBlackout hashtag, citing the company's platform manipulation and spam policies.

[...] Prof Philip Howard from the Oxford Internet Institute said that while Twitter was taking action, conspiracy theories and polarising stories keep returning.


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 03 2020, @05:13PM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 03 2020, @05:13PM (#1002831)

    "Twitter also said it had banned an account for inciting violence while impersonating a protest group." I'm curious to know how Twitter was able to determine the account was impersonating a protest group.

  • (Score: 2) by ilPapa on Wednesday June 03 2020, @06:00PM

    by ilPapa (2366) on Wednesday June 03 2020, @06:00PM (#1002865) Journal

    That's why silencing dissent is so evil.

    It's really not hard, if you pay attention. The bots and frauds are pretty easy to spot on social media.

    --
    You are still welcome on my lawn.
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 03 2020, @06:04PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 03 2020, @06:04PM (#1002870)

    they have algorithms that check if your retweeters mostly have each other followed to fluff the numbers, but no outsiders apart from a few token celebrities.
    Real humans have dead-end connections (friends who post but don't really follow a lot of people), and connections outside of political groups.

    All the (Russian) bots are basically tweeting at each other and no one else. Pretty easy to spot.

    • (Score: 2) by The Vocal Minority on Thursday June 04 2020, @05:25AM

      by The Vocal Minority (2765) on Thursday June 04 2020, @05:25AM (#1003079) Journal

      Citation? The impression I have got is that the state sponsored trolls are pretty hard to spot as they tend to keep evolving the avoid any algorithms set up to catch them. However I don't use social media much - most of what I know about this topic comes form the series Everyday Engineering did on it.

  • (Score: 1) by AHuxley on Thursday June 04 2020, @04:53AM

    by AHuxley (254) on Thursday June 04 2020, @04:53AM (#1003068)

    Some offical protest groups are approved?

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by hendrikboom on Thursday June 04 2020, @12:57PM

    by hendrikboom (1125) on Thursday June 04 2020, @12:57PM (#1003163) Homepage Journal

    Maybe the impersonated protest group complained?