Tag Archives: social media

Twitter Detective MasterHack: How To Retrospectively Find A User ID Number

I wrote in my Old Usernames article about the importance of Twitter’s User ID in keeping tabs on slippery people’s behaviour. The User ID is a unique account identifier which remains the same however many times the user changes his or her @username. If you know the User ID, you will always be able to find a given Twitter profile (or at least find what’s happened to it) via its numerical URL.

But what happens if you discover that, say, a group of account @usernames have been switched, and you need to actually prove that the switch has taken place? This can happen with account networks when they try to cloak their origins. And it became important recently when the lead profile in a network of raving political activist accounts rebranded as the main promo feed for an alternative social media platform claiming to be politically impartial. I know, you couldn’t make it up, could you?

Well, there is fiendishly clever way to find out who’s been switching usernames, and PROVE it. Anyone can do it, and you can read the full tutorial in: How To Retrospectively Find a Twitter ID Number.

Will Twitter Ban “Cash Giveaway” Accounts?

If you haven’t yet seen one, where have you been? On Twitter, supposed “cash giveaways” have become a means for the self-styled “benefactor” to build a vast following, elicit unnaturally high levels of compliance from the public, and make a lot of money. But if there’s no separate terms and conditions page, the cash prize probably doesn’t exist. And even if it does, how would you know?…

If you just came to this post looking for clarification on which of these profiles are outright scams, try out the Twitter Scam Detector Tool. It’s a simple, one-click routine that will take you straight to any reports or discussions of suspicious activity for a user of your choice. There’s also some additional reading in the #TwitterPhilanthropy post, but don’t let any of this stop you reading on…

The “cash giveaway” scene is rapidly growing. It’s a world where the winners may never even be mentioned, let alone identified. Broadly, it’s just tweet after tweet of…

“RT, Like and Comment to win £5,000 in cash. Must be following me, and must tell me what a fantastic guy I am in the comment, blah, blah.”

That’s the kind of character we’re talking about. Not just spectacularly manipulative, but also childishly egotistical. And there’s no “Congratulations to the winner”. Aside from their occasional, staged convincer ruses, these dudes can’t even be bothered to pretend someone actually won. New day, new giveaway, and it never ends. Continue reading Will Twitter Ban “Cash Giveaway” Accounts?

Twitter Unfollow Practices: Spammers Are The New Inactives

When ManageFlitter and Crowdfire sat at the epicentre of Twitter follow management tools, usage of those apps helped spread a notion that one of the best targets for unfollowing was the inactive user. And the Twitter ‘manage’ apps made the process of following so-called “inactives” very, very simple.

But in January 2019, a range of Twitter unfollow apps, including both of the aforementioned, had their API access disabled by Twitter. This rendered the best known unfollow tools inoperable. And because these and other apps had such an enormous presence among Twitter users, the effective shutdown of their core functionality actually changed the Twitter landscape – even for those who never used them.

For example, you may recall that this time last year, if you went more than 30 days without updating your timeline, your mutuals would start to unfollow you. That was because ManageFlitter and its derivatives had an “Inactives” unfollow category, which used a 30-day filter to determine who was, or was not, still using Twitter. The implication was that app users should unfollow accounts in the “Inactives” category, and many did. Continue reading Twitter Unfollow Practices: Spammers Are The New Inactives

How To Avoid a Twitter Shadowban

One of the most fundamental changes in Twitter’s policy ever, was the introduction, at the beginning of March 2017, of proactive moderation. Previously, Twitter had responded to user reports of abuse, offensiveness and spam on an individual basis, but this had largely failed to tackle an endemic problem with low-quality profiles and annoying or distortive spam.

Because Twitter is so huge, the bulk of this new realm of moderation would have to be automated. Twitter thus set to work devising algorithms which could attempt to identify known traits of low-quality or offensive profiles, and then penalise those accounts. Some penalties would be notified to the offending user; others would not. The classic shadowban is not notified to the offending user.

From the start, circa 1st March 2017*, a large number of Twitter profiles were auto-moderated, and dropped out of the search timelines for varying periods of time. The surreptitious measures which rendered many accounts widely invisible, quickly became known as shadowbans.

[*Update 16/4/2019I’ve now been able to confirm that tweets were being taken out of search based on shadowban criteria before 1st March 2017, but the measures had their publicised launch on that date.]

EFFECTS OF A SHADOWBAN

There are different types and degrees of shadowban, but most typically, the user’s tweets will drop out of Twitter’s default search results. Depending on why the user is shadowbanned, the following consequences may also apply… Continue reading How To Avoid a Twitter Shadowban

Why It’s Time For Twitter To Scrap Like, Retweet & Follower Count Displays

Twitter Popularity Counts

At the beginning of 2015 I addressed the question of hiding the Follower count on Twitter. In the light of Twitter’s more recent consideration of scrapping the Like button, I’m revisiting the subject of public popularity counts, and asking whether it’s time for the platform to wipe them out entirely.

This article is not suggesting that Twitter gets rid of Like buttons, Retweet buttons, notifications relating to the use of those buttons, or summary data for the poster of the content. It’s suggesting that Twitter removes the public display of Like, Retweet, Reply and Follower/Friend counts. The numbers.

WHY ARE ENFORCED PUBLIC POPULARITY COUNTS BAD?

The logic behind forcibly displaying social media users’ popularity counts to the public, is that it strongly motivates platform growth. Crudely put, it shames people into importing fans/friends, or labouring to engage a native audience. In both scenarios, the social sites gain something for nothing. They either gain new users for zero advertising expenditure, or they gain human labour, which will collectively bring a level of value to the platform. Value on the back of which the platform can run ads. That’s the power of shame. Continue reading Why It’s Time For Twitter To Scrap Like, Retweet & Follower Count Displays

10 Reasons Why Social Media Loves To Build Closed Platforms

Walled Gardens and Closed Platforms

One of the questions I see asked a lot on the social web is: “Why does [whatever network] not allow unregistered users to see what I publish?” I understand the frustration. Social networks of this type are normally known as “closed platforms” or “walled gardens”, and they heavily restrict the reach of their members.

In this post I’m going to examine the question, and provide ten separate answers. Just why do some social networks keep all their content locked behind a login and refuse to show it to anyone who isn’t a member? Here goes… Continue reading 10 Reasons Why Social Media Loves To Build Closed Platforms

The De-Centralisation of the Adult Industry: Part 2

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In Part 1 of this article, we explored how the adult entertainment industry has evolved since the birth of the Internet. We saw that control of the business has shifted from male-run ‘production houses’ to female entertainers, working autonomously, often from home, with very low personal overheads.

Here in Part 2, we’re going to focus on some specific good, bad and ugly consequences of the new situation.

THE GOOD

BETTER BEHAVIOUR AMONG HIRERS

The de-centralisation of adult entertainment has broken down a lot of the malign power within the industry’s hire market. Continue reading The De-Centralisation of the Adult Industry: Part 2