“Why is this trending?” was tweeted more than half a million times in the last year. Twitter users clearly want to understand why something is popular, and the company took note.
On Tuesday, Twitter announced that it would elaborate on trends via pinned tweets and descriptions on trending topics.
Providing context around trends happens through a combination of algorithms and human review. The algorithms pick out tweets that aren’t abusive, spam or posted through fraudulent accounts. A representative tweet is then pinned to a trend to show why users are talking about the topic. This feature has already been implemented on Twitter for iOS and Android, and the company plans to bring it to Twitter.com as well.
Descriptions haven’t rolled out yet, but they’ll be written by Twitter’s curation team, which will abide by certain guidelines.
Here’s what pinned tweets and descriptions could look like:
The additional context on trends will be available in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, France, India, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.
“To bring more clarity to the conversation, we hope to add more context to more trends over time,” says product trust partner Liz Lee and product manager Frank Oppong reads. “We need to make trends better and we will.”
Performing an initial investigation to follow the funds related to the Twitter TWTR hack that happened on July 15 to Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Kanye West, Bill Gates and numerous other celebrities and executives of large technology companies, it is evident the many of those funds already hit reputable exchanges that might freeze the funds.
As different celebrities were sharing and resharing those posts that turned out to be fraudulent, some of their followers decided to open up their own wallets and pay as well. More than $130,000 later, most of the posts had been removed, the website of CryptoForHealth shut down. Twitter stepped in to forbid some users to tweet, but it is high time to recover the funds to the victims or at least specify to which exchanges they have been sent.
Despite a common misperception as Bitcoin represents a pseudo-anonymous network, transactions performed on it are both visible to the general public and traceable. Addresses can be directly connected to particular exchanges.
As scammers are still moving funds between cryptocurrency wallets, investigators from all over the world have stepped in with the goal to identify types of exchanges and freeze the funds on different accounts.
From the initial review, it is evident that much of the funds have been transferred to Binance. In a recent statement to TechCrunch, Binance Security Team informed that they have been aware of the situation and launched an investigation, which is visible to the crypto community as their team marked several cryptocurrency wallets as fraudulent.
Earlier today, an article released by Cointelegraph revealed that addresses used by the hackers had previously been linked to Coinbase and BitPay, common names in the cryptocurrency exchange and merchant sphere.
“According to our initial analysis the funds have reached many exchanges, but the core of the funds originated from the main Binance address. It is now clear that scammers were sending funds back and forth between different cryptocurrency addresses in an attempt to confuse law enforcement agents, wash them. Once completed fraudsters have sent a large parts of the funds to an address belonging to Binance yet again, which has been rather quickly discovered and flagged by the exchange.
Secondary besides Binance, it seems though that multiple exchanges like Bittrex, as well as MercadoBitcoin in Brazil have received funds from this scam already,” said Sven Martinsson, the Founder & CEO of VALEGA Chain Analytics – a Blockchain Investigations and analytics firm working out of Finland.
Even though the investigation remains novel, due to the transparency of the open blockchain of Bitcoin, it is possible to follow different transactions to a different account at cryptocurrency exchange platforms. Being personally engaged in one such ‘crypto exchange platform,’ competent and motivated compliance team members have a portfolio of tools and processes to stop such transactions in case they are being spotted. The fraudsters seem to know that so that there is a race for the fraudsters to try to exchange the funds to fiat currencies as soon as possible and Blockchain investigators to mark as many wallets as quickly as possible to freeze those funds.
Even though the identity of the scammers remains yet unknown, there are tools in place which allow for visualizing transactions between different accounts and exchanges that use the publicly available data and connect wallets to crypto exchanges.
Here are a couple of examples of how the fraudsters anticipated to hide their tracks. Everything starts on the left side in the middle of the graph, which represents the first address to which the scammers asked users to pay. Each additional connected line of dots represents their effort to hide their tracks and mix funds between different wallets and exchanges.
A more comprehensive description has been placed below each picture which represents a print screen out of a Blockchain Analytics Software.
Zooming in closer to different dots allows us to directly view the cryptocurrency wallet address which has been used. It is connected to a particular wallet provider or a platform (with strong but not utmost certainty). In order to review where funds were directed and how much was sent.
Investigations performed by compliance teams take time as they are most likely performed by individuals who are working for different exchange platforms or geographies, so sometimes the funds are able to be transferred to an account before they are being flagged as fraudulent. Red accounts have been already marked as fraudulent.
Following each transaction and the connected spiderweb of transfers between cryptocurrency addresses helps to spot a time period in which fraudsters will try to wash funds with a legitimate exchange. As stated below, fraudsters launched a transfer to MercadoBitcoin in Brazil as well as Bittrex.com already.
This review is just a snapshot of the current stage of transfers performed by the fraudsters as of the afternoon of July 17th. It does not display traces in full to avoid obstructing justice or investigations. Even though it has been a Twitter hack and not a Bitcoin hack, the pseudo-anonymity of bitcoin and visibility of each transaction with tools like the wallet explorer does prove that the Crypto community is not helpless and knows more and more with each transaction the fraudsters perform. It is important to underline that it was not Bitcoin that got hacked, it was Twitter. Bitcoin was just the chosen means of payment.
Sven will release a collected investigation free of charge to anyone who can identify themself as an investigator in the process.
The transaction investigation remains ongoing. For security reasons and not to interfere with investigations, this is just a teaser to provide insights into different tactics of criminal networks. Exchanges in question have the appropriate means to stay compliant and do their reporting accordingly. This is NOT an attempt to defame or point any fingers and the statements are assumptions, not yet evidence. It remains a visualization of investigation that affected many users and the account holders on Twitter.
For transparency purposes – The contributor of this post is a Head of Compliance in one of the leading Cryptocurrency Exchanges in the Nordics called ‘Safello’.
He serves as a board advisor to Valega Chain whose team has launched an investigation to follow the stolen funds on his request. Statements about how Blockchain Analytics Tools work have been performed on the example of Valega Chain Analytics and should not be generalized to other Blockchain Analytics Tools as all of them have their own criteria, tools, and internal processes.
I’m a freelance technology, video game, and entertainment journalist. I’ve been writing about the world of technology, video games, and entertainment for the last decade. If you’ve seen my work around the Web, you’ve probably found me analyzing and reviewing your favorite smartphones, televisions, and video games. And if you’re on Twitter, you probably see me asking for movie recommendations and complaining about the tech in my life not working the way it should. In my free time, I’m usually tinkering with tech, improving my surround sound setup, and insatiably consuming all the world of tech, games, and geek culture has to offer. I write for Forbes Finds. If you buy something using a link on my posts, Forbes Finds may receive a small share of that sale.
Twitter verified an account for a fake Republican Rhode Island congressional candidate named Andrew Walz that was actually run by a teenager, CNN Business first reported on Friday. The account has since been permanently suspended in violation of Twitter’s rules, a spokesperson confirmed to TIME.
The 17-year-old high school student — who agreed to speak with CNN Business on the condition that his name not be used — reportedly lives in upstate New York. He told CNN Business he made a website for the fake candidate in “around 20 minutes” and the Twitter account in “maybe five minutes.” He said he got the fake candidate’s picture from a website called This Person Does Not Exist, which uses machine learning to generate realistic yet fake faces.
Why’d he do it? Because he was “bored” and wanted to test Twitter’s “election integrity efforts,” CNN Business reports.
The teen told CNN Business that he then submitted both the Twitter account and website to Ballotpedia, a nonprofit that bills itself as a “digital encyclopedia of American politics and elections.” Twitter has partnered with Ballotpedia to help identify political candidates to verify as the 2020 election swiftly approaches. Ballotpedia sends Twitter a list of candidates once a week to help with their verification process, and Twitter also reportedly investigates each candidate.
The fake candidate Andrew Walz was both listed on Ballotpedia and verified on Twitter, per CNN Business. The teen reportedly said that neither Twitter nor Ballotpedia asked for documentation to prove the candidate was real.
“We’ve put into place a rigorous process to ensure that, through our partnership with Ballotpedia, we accurately identify and verify candidates’ legitimate Twitter accounts,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement to TIME. “Sometimes, this thorough process can cause a short delay between when candidates qualified for the primary ballot and when candidates are verified.”
“Unfortunately, an individual found loopholes in our process by submitting a fake candidate and a fake account for verification,” she continued. “As soon as we discovered this, we took action on the account.” Creating a fake candidate account violates Twitter’s rules, and the account has been permanently suspended, per the spokesperson.
While Ballotpedia did not immediately respond to TIME’s request for comment Geoff Pallay, Ballotpedia’s editor in chief, issued a response to CNN Business that said, “Ballotpedia definitely made a mistake here.”
CNN Business reports that Pallay explained how the candidate was approved for the site without having filed official campaign documents. “Many candidates generate campaign activities, such as establishing an online presence, far in advance of their states’ filing deadlines. Because of that, we have observed a category of ‘declared candidate’ versus an ‘officially filed candidate,’” Pallay reportedly said. He added that Ballotpedia had been sending Twitter a list of candidates who had both declared and officially filed without distinguishing the difference, and Ballotpedia will make that distinction in the future, per CNN Business.
While Walz’s Ballotpedia page still exists, it now only includes a statement that says, “Ballotpedia was notified on Feb. 27, 2020, at 12:29 p.m. EST that Andrew Walz was not a legitimate candidate for office… Upon investigating this claim, we removed his entry from our database on Feb. 28, 2020. We have updated our declared candidate policy as a result of this situation.”
Andrew Walz calls himself a “proven business leader” and a “passionate advocate for students.” Walz, a Republican from Rhode Island, is running for Congress with the tagline, “Let’s make change in Washington together,” or so his Twitter account claimed. Earlier this month, Walz’s account received a coveted blue checkmark from Twitter as part of the company’s broader push to verify the authenticity of many Senate, House and gubernatorial candidates currently running for office. Twitter has framed this effort as key to helping Americans find reliable information about politicians in the leadup to the 2020 election. But there’s just one problem: Walz does not exist. The candidate is the creation of a 17-year-old high school student from upstate New York. The student, who CNN Business spoke to with the permission of his parents and has agreed not to name, said he was “bored” over the holidays and created the fake account to test Twitter’s election integrity efforts. The blue checkmark is a hallmark of Twitter and one that was later copied by Facebook. It is often given to prominent accounts belonging to journalists, politicians, government agencies and businesses. The feature is central to Twitter’s goal of helping users find reliable information on the platform, often from verified newsmakers. The fact that a teenager using next to no resources was able to quickly create a fake candidate in his free time and get it verified by Twitter raises questions about the company’s preparedness for handling how the 2020 elections will play out on its platform. Read more about how this teen fooled Twitter: https://cnn.it/32CfgsE Producers: Richa Naik & Craig Waxman Senior Producer: Logan Whiteside #CNN#Twitter#Disinformation CNN Business brings you the latest business news about the world’s top companies and the global markets, finance, tech, and the innovations driving us forward. Interested in more of CNN Business? Subscribe to our channel!: https://tinyurl.com/qlsvmdy More of CNN Business Facebook: https://bit.ly/2HZvzX0 Twitter: https://bit.ly/2uByq5F Instagram: https://bit.ly/2PKtpPF#CNN#Business
Twitter wants to make following a topic as easy as following an account.
On Tuesday, the company said it’s trying out a way for users to follow sports topics such as the New England Patriots, cricket or wrestling. It’s testing this feature for Android users and will curate topics users could be interested in following.
Twitter will also let you “mute” topics so you don’t see these tweets all the time, and it’s exploring a way for you to create a separate timeline that includes certain accounts and topics you follow.
Twitter plans to release the ability to follow topics globally by the end of the year. As the social network tries to attract and retain new users, Twitter has been trying to take more risks with product changes. Earlier this year, Twitter released a prototype app so users could test new features such as adding color to replies, with the goal of making it easier to follow conversations.
“Our desire is to be a little bit more ambitious about the level of change that we introduce into the product,” Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour said during a press event at the company’s San Francisco headquarters.
The company is also exploring other features such as a search tool for your direct messages and the ability to reorder photos after you attached them to a tweet.
As for an edit button, don’t expect it anytime soon. Beykpour said he thinks that there’s a way for the company to let users correct typos. The risk, though, is some people might use the feature to change a controversial statement they tweeted on the site.
“It’s a feature I think that we should build at some point,” Beykpour said. “It’s not anywhere near the top of our priority list.”
That includes your personal connections, but also experts who use Twitter to spread their ideas and help followers get more done. The blog of team productivity tool I Done This recently sifted through the self-promoters and time wasters to identify “the best productivity coaches and experts–people who are actually worth your hard-earned time.”
The complete list, including detailed information on each coach, is well worth a look, but here’s a sampling for you to check out to see whether any of these folks can help you reach your goals.
1. Tim Ferriss
No surprise here. The 4-Hour Workweek author “is likely the first person you thought of when you saw the title of this post,” concedes I Done This, but Tim Ferriss is popular for a reason. His advice actually helps and inspires people. His podcast is great too. Follow him at @tferriss.
2. Craig Jarrow
Craig Jarrow, founder of Time Management Ninja, gets the thumbs up from I Done This because “unlike many other productivity gurus, Jarrow’s goal isn’t to entrap you in complex strategies that only he can help you implement. Instead, he focuses on building a set of empowering skills and habits that grant you more control over how you spend your time.” Follow him at @TMNinja.
Pierrette Abeel’s unique approach focuses “not only on internal habits but also external spaces. She writes articles about organizing your office and cleaning up your inbox, as well as how to build good, productive behaviors,” notes I Done This. “She offers a five-day productivity challenge you can sign up for on her homepage to get started.” Follow her at @ProductivityDC.
5. Grace Marshall
If you’re naturally disorganized, Grace Marshall might be the productivity guru for you. Not only do her own messy tendencies inform her approach, but “she’s a neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) practitioner and a DiSC-certified trainer,” I Done This points out. Follow her at @GraceMarshall.
6. Brittany Berger
Looking for a productivity coach who doesn’t paper over the dark side of ambition? Try Brittany Berger. “Productivity coaches so often call on us to work harder or smarter, but few acknowledge the realities of fatigue, depression, and anxiety,” says I Done This. “Her pitch is to instead focus on working ‘brighter,’ meaning that you define productivity in a way that works for you.” Follow her at @thatbberg.
7. Alexandra Cavoulacos
“Alexandra Cavoulacos is the co-founder of the Muse and co-author of The New Rules of Work. She writes about careers, management, productivity, and entrepreneurship,” says I Done This. Follow her at @acav.
A big advocate of logging your time, Laura Vanderkam has written a host of helpful books and also given a TED Talk that’s been viewed by millions. “You can find more resources on her website, where she also blogs regularly,” notes I Done This. Follow her at @lvanderkam.
In an interview with Joe Rogan, Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey answers the question on whether or not he will create his own cryptocurrency. He said that he has no plans for that at the moment, however, he expressed his personal view towards cryptocurrency and the internet. Dorsey believes that the internet will have its native currency one day, although he doesn’t know what that would be………
Inboxr allows you to send ‘if this then that’ style messages,following up on past purchases, giving recommended products/services and allow you to funnel users to sales pages automatically. It allows you to grab each users Facebook emails without the user even having to type it – simply have inboxr ask to send the fan a coupon, a discount, related information, and when the user responds ‘yes’, inboxr grabs the users email, adds it to your autoresponder and starts the follow up process.Inboxr can differentiate from who you have messaged recently to who hasn’t been contacted for X amount of days – this is great to make cold leads warm again…….
Crowd-sourced and set to go, we’ve curated a list of highly recommended educators to follow as shared by educators just like you!
In a matter of 60 minutes this past week in the #whatisschool Twitter chat, we asked classroom teachers, administrators, tech coaches, librarians, and more to share individuals that positively influence and inform practice and that make a difference in education through their work and support within our PLN.
Twitter is doing its part to combat fake news and foreign election meddling by rolling out phase two of its plan for transparency surrounding political ad campaigns.
There’s a lot hanging on this year’s midterm election and social media companies like Twitter and Facebook are doing everything they can to ensure political advertising is honest, transparent, and fair.
A few months back, Twitter introduced its transparency initiative partly as a way to give users insights into the origins of political ads and mostly as a way to make all ads more traceable.
This initiative was announced almost simultaneously with Facebook’s new ad transparency features, proving that both companies are serious about avoiding trouble this Fall. (more on that here)
Phase Two Features
As of now, anyone, even those without Twitter accounts, can use the platform’s Ad Transparency Center (a searchable database released October 2017) to search for ads displayed on Twitter within the last seven days.
The Ad Transparency Center features ads promoted by US and global advertisers. Currently, the only political ads that are searchable are those related to US elections.
This may change in the coming months but Twitter has stated that they will need to do more research on the matter before they can extend the feature to non-U.S. elections. The Twitter advertising blog states:
“We are examining how to adapt and internationalize both political campaigning and issue ads policies. We are doing our due diligence to get this right and will have more updates to come.”
For advertisers promoting Twitter approved US political ads, the Ad Transparency Center will break down billing information, ad spend, impression data per tweet and demographic targeting data for them.
These new capabilities expand on several others announced on May 30. As part of the first initiative rollouts, Twitter started adding badges and disclaimers to all political campaign ads and accounts running political ads were required to to certify that they lived in the United States.
Accounts also had to have a profile picture and a link in the bio section that provided accurate contact information. Twitter also banned foreign nationals from targeting political campaign ads to people in the U.S.
Online security has been at the top of everyone’s minds this year. Cambridge Analytica and election interference has social media users freaked and they, as well as the government, have been putting intense pressure on social media networks to get real about transparency and how they handle user data.
Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, have answered the call eagerly and have started rolling out several new ad policies and transparency tools for marketers and users.
Some of these updated policies have caught marketers in a bit of a whirlwind. It can be difficult to maintain the same content strategies when social media advertising as we know it continues to evolve and adapt. However, these new policies could be a blessing in disguise.
Marketers will have to work harder to make their content more authentic or Facebook and Twitter will literally put an end to their ad plans.