Twitter has certainly had its work cut out trying to find and shut down fake accounts. Now, those of us who use Twitter can also play a role in exposing the phonies.
Twitter has tweaked its reporting system so you can now tell the company if you think a certain account is fake. The process works through Twitter's usual reporting system. After identifying a tweet as spam, you can then further complain if you think the account itself is fake.
"Activity that attempts to manipulate or disrupt Twitter's service is not allowed," Twitter said in a tweet. "We remove this when we see it. You can now specify what type of spam you're seeing when you report, including fake accounts."
The surge of fake accounts on Twitter has been strong cause for alarm. Russian bots spreading fake news on Twitter have been blamed for interfering with the 2016 US election, undermining faith in the election process. Twitter has been on a tear this year finding and eliminating bots and phony accounts. But with so many fake accounts in the Twittersphere, the hunt is a slow one. Enlisting the aid of Twitter users could help speed the process.
To tag an account you suspect is spam, click the down arrow in the upper right of the tweet and select the option to Report Tweet. At the Report window, choose the option that says: "It's suspicious or spam." Click Next. At the next screen, select the first option that says: "The account tweeting this is fake." Click Next. Twitter tells you it will check the account to see if it's violating company rules and also suggests you block or mute the account.
Of course, the pitfall in this process is that people may report tweets or accounts as fake without any evidence simply because they don't like or agree with them. Those of you who genuinely want to nail phony accounts should first get some tips by running a Web search for "How to find fake twitter accounts." Offering help and advice are such stories as "How to remove bots and trolls and clean up your Twitter feed in seconds," "3 ways to spot fake Twitter accounts," and "Fallen for a fake Twitter account? Here's how to spot them."
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- Twitter now offers you a way to report potentially fake accounts.
- Twitter will investigate any account you report as fake to see if it's violated company guidelines.
- Twitter will now let you know when a tweet you reported is taken down
- Twitter CEO tells Congress the social network may start exposing fake users with public badges
- Twitter is fighting spam by limiting tweets, likes, follows, and direct messages from third-party apps
- Twitter tests home-screen button to switch tweet order (CNET)
- Twitter publishes information ops data from Russia, Iran for research (ZDNet)
- Beware of the bots: How they're created and why they matter (TechRepublic)