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Twitter announces new block tool, ban on threats

ROA-twitter Messages identified as abusive will not appear on notification timelines, thanks to a new filtering system designed to prevent harassment from being seen by its targets.

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This simple comic strip concisely explains the complexities of Twitter drama

Apologies to all who think Twitter is srs bzns. Jokestress out!

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Turkey blocks Twitter and YouTube

_82143543_026568101-1 The BBC reports that the courts want to prevent the spread of photos from last week's deadly siege which ended in the deaths of two terrorists and their hostage.

Woman medicated in a psychiatric ward until she said Obama didn't follow her on Twitter

Kam Brock's car was seized by the NYPD in a bogus drug bust (they found no drugs, seized it anyway) and then they arrested her because she got upset and took her to a mental hospital. She tried to tell the doc that she was a good person, and cited the (true) fact that Obama followed her on Twitter.

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Social graph of mysterious twitterbots


Terence Eden has mined the social graphs of thousands of mysterious, spammy twitterbots, which may or may not be the same larval spambots I wrote about.

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Imaginary ISIS attack on Louisiana and the twitterbots who loved it


Gilad Lotan has spotted some pretty sophisticated fake-news generation, possibly from Russia, and possibly related to my weird, larval twitterbots, aimed at convincing you that ISIS had blown up a Louisiana chemical factory.

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ISIS vs Twitter: A cautionary tale told through data visualization

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A report by the Brookings Institution analyzed a sample 20,000 ISIS-supporting Twitter accounts, and sought to answer the question of how suspending accounts impacts the community. The data visualizations, included in the report, bring the message home. According to the authors, suspensions serve to focus ISIS supporters into a dense cloud: on the lower right of the image above.

The node-link diagram describes ISIS supporters from February 2015. The darker cloud shows the increased concentration of interactions after the suspensions, while the lighter cloud at the top left shows more scattered peripheral relationships at the same time. "As suspensions contract the network, members increasingly talk to each other rather than to outsiders," the report states. The upshot? Suspensions, of which Twitter made more than a thousand by December, may have unintended consequences, including cutting off ISIS supporters from beneficial social pressures on Twitter.

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The report was written by author and analyst J.M. Berger (@intelwire) and data scientist and podcaster Jonathon Morgan (@jonathonmorgan), and commissioned by Google.

What's up with these incredibly prolific twitterbots?


Old, highly-retweeted tweets in which I was @'ed keep getting RT'ed by fake twitterbots whose profile photos, bios and names are randomly composited from other Twitter users; they follow each other and spawn at an alarming rate.

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Nerdcore Net Neutrality rap

Nerdcore rapper Dan Bull recorded this Net Neutrality rap today and crowdsourced an excellent video for it in three hours, with the help of his Twitter friends.

Twitterbot generates North Korean patriotic slogans with Markov chains


The 300 weird patriotic slogans that North Korea released last week had the stilted feel of machine-generated text.

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Tone-deaf Valentines tweets from the NSA

"Roses are red, violets are blue, #NSA loves privacy rights and you." No, seriously.

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Generic YA dystopian novel (Twitter edition)


The @Dystopianya account is tweeting an entire cliched YA dystopian novel in bite-sized chunks.

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Fun with promoted Tweets


Andy Baio's been playing with Twitter's "promoted tweet" targeted ads, sending out tweets that are only seen by Twitter staff (hey, verify me already!), politicians (make better laws!), and, in one bizarre case, no one (a process Twitter calls "nullcasting").

Google fought gag order over Wikileaks emails

The company says that it fought the warrants and their gag orders, and the reason they weren't able to follow Twitter's suit by disclosing the warrants' existence was that prosecutors were furious over the public backlash when Twitter got to disclose.

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Britons: we have three days to kill the new Snooper's Charter

The all-pervasive spying bill that was struck down in 2012 is back.

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Chest-burster Creme Egg


A seasonal treat, courtesy of @Ghouliachilds.

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Teens' use of social media is significantly shaped by race, class, geography, cultural background


danah boyd responds to A Teenager’s View on Social Media (written by an actual teen), pointing out that what white, affluent boys do with social media is not a full account of "how teens use the Internet.

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