Fake Twitter followers offered for a fee

Updated 16 July 2013
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Fake Twitter followers offered for a fee

There are more than 40,000 fake accounts on social media networking sites in Saudi Arabia run by organized individuals, Arab News has discovered. The people running these accounts offer followers to anyone willing to pay money for this unethical service.
“When I reached 4,000 Twitter followers I was sent a request from an account that said it would cost me SR 50 for 1,000 followers. I was tempted by the offer and so I said yes to it,” said a Twitter subscriber.
“All I had to do was transfer the money. The next day I woke up with 5,000 followers and was so excited. But when I looked at the names, I was shocked. I saw names such as Beautiful Soso, Ittihad Lover, Coffee Addict and so on which made me suspicious. When I questioned the person who gave me the followers, he said they were all fake accounts that he managed and if I wanted active followers I would have to pay more to make them active,” he said.
Some Saudi Twitter subscribers are offered money by organizations and businesses to tweet about them. “It is funny how they operate and I was extremely shocked when a well-known clinic in Jeddah sent me a direct message on Twitter asking me to call them. When I did so I was offered SR 500 for each tweet I posted about them,” said a Twitter subscriber with 50,000 followers.
“I was tempted at first to take the offer and thought of only tweeting around 20 or 30 tweets to make some money but then I realized that people who follow me really trust me and really pay attention to what I say and so I rejected the offer. I know they will be targeting someone else with the same offer,” she added.
When Arab News contacted one of the people responsible for the fake Twitter accounts, the man said he guaranteed that no one would find out if we asked for the service. “We subscribe very fast. I have a team working with me in my home office that will access different accounts and follow the buyer,” he said. “We are fast, cheap and secretive so there is no need to worry about anything. All you need to do is transfer the money and we will take care of the rest,” he said.


YouTube, under pressure for problem content, takes down 58 mln videos in quarter

Updated 14 December 2018
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YouTube, under pressure for problem content, takes down 58 mln videos in quarter

  • Google added thousands of moderators this year, expanding to more than 10,000, in hopes of reviewing user reports faster

WASHINGTON: YouTube took down more than 58 million videos and 224 million comments during the third quarter based on violations of its policies, the unit of Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Thursday in an effort to demonstrate progress in suppressing problem content.
Government officials and interest groups in the United States, Europe and Asia have been pressuring YouTube, Facebook Inc. and other social media services to quickly identify and remove extremist and hateful content that critics have said incite violence.
The European Union has proposed online services should face steep fines unless they remove extremist material within one hour of a government order to do so.
An official at India’s Ministry of Home Affairs speaking on the condition of anonymity on Thursday said social media firms had agreed to tackle authorities’ requests to remove objectionable content within 36 hours.
This year, YouTube began issuing quarterly reports about its enforcement efforts.
As with past quarters, most of the removed content was spam, YouTube said.
Automated detection tools help YouTube quickly identify spam, extremist content and nudity. During September, 90 percent of the nearly 10,400 videos removed for violent extremism or 279,600 videos removed for child safety issues received fewer than 10 views, according to YouTube.
But YouTube faces a bigger challenge with material promoting hateful rhetoric and dangerous behavior.
Automated detection technologies for those policies are relatively new and less efficient, so YouTube relies on users to report potentially problematic videos or comments. This means that the content may be viewed widely before being removed.
Google added thousands of moderators this year, expanding to more than 10,000, in hopes of reviewing user reports faster. YouTube declined to comment on growth plans for 2019.
It has described pre-screening every video as unfeasible.
The third-quarter removal data for the first time revealed the number of YouTube accounts Google disabled for either having three policy violations in 90 days or committing what the company found to be an egregious violation, such as uploading child pornography.
YouTube removed about 1.67 million channels and all of the 50.2 million videos that were available from them.
Nearly 80 percent of the channel takedowns related to spam uploads, YouTube said. About 13 percent concerned nudity, and 4.5 percent child safety.
YouTube said users post billions of comments each quarter. It declined to disclose the overall number of accounts that have uploaded videos, but said removals were also a small fraction.
In addition, about 7.8 million videos were removed individually for policy violations, in line with the previous quarter.