On Twitter Bots, Censorship and Social Media Manipulation

On Twitter Bots, Censorship and Social Media Manipulation

During the past couple of months, there’s been an uptick in discussion regarding social media weaponization, censorship, bots and other manipulation. I’ve been following and participating in this public dialogue with keen interest, especially from the privacy and free speech perspectives. Whereas 2018 was the year of Facebook fiascos, it looks like in 2019 the spotlight has turned on Twitter.

So here’s a blog post about Twitter, made with embedded tweets. Let’s go full meta.

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4 Steps to Harden Your Twitter Account

4 Steps to Harden Your Twitter Account

As data breaches and identity thefts are happening left and right, day and night, the best time to secure your Twitter account was yesterday. Here’s four straightforward steps you should take in order to significantly decrease the possibility of your account getting accessed by an outsider. Most of these things are applicable to other online services as well, so once you’re done hardening your Twitter account, take a critical look at your other accounts both on and off social media.

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An Analysis of Finnish Police Parody Accounts on Twitter

An Analysis of Finnish Police Parody Accounts on Twitter

The Police of Finland has been noticeably increasing its presence on social media, especially on Twitter where there’s more than 60 official accounts already. Most of these accounts represent individual police officers, and therefore they’re supposed to represent the official police’s brand and communication, but of course there’s bound to be some personal nuances included in the tweets as well. This personal tone is perfectly normal and only human, but unfortunately it makes them (individuals and the police) a target for a backslash.

And oh boy, they’ve been targeted alright. As of this writing, there’s at least eight parody accounts made of Finnish Police, and most of them have been activated within the last two months. Although parody accounts are accepted in Twitter’s policy and often intended just as harmless fun, I wanted to take a closer look at these eight and see if I could find any interesting details on them.

There were definitely some similarities and other easily connectable dots between the eight that were apparent even after just a quick glance (e.g. multiple mentions of “vihapuhe” = “hate speech”). I realize that by doing this I’m just feeding the trolls, so to speak, but let’s just call this professional curiosity that prompted me to investigate further.

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Make Twitter Non-Personalized Again

Make Twitter Non-Personalized Again

Many of you have probably heard about Twitter’s new privacy policy which was sold to you the same way these things always are: “to bring you a more personalized experience”. Obviously, this meant that more of your data is getting analyzed and sold to the highest bidder. I immediately encouraged my followers to opt-out of it, and since then also the great folks at EFF have written a guide on how to do so.

But what many Twitter users don’t know is that there are other ways that Twitter is already (and by default) doing to “enhance” your timeline. This is how you can opt-out from the rest of those settings:

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Twitter Influencers: How I got +850 % Impressions & What I Learned

Twitter Influencers: How I got +850 % Impressions & What I Learned

We, the social media marketers, are silly. At the same we keep preaching (and bragging) loudly how fast things and trends change in social media landscape, but on the other hand we’ve been declaring that “this is The Year of the Influencer” at least four years in a row now. However, very often even professionals seem to forget (or outright not know) that not all influencers have to be persons.

Especially on channels like Twitter and Instagram, accounts that are e.g. parodies (like in my case) or content curators, can have massive follower bases. These are my findings from a tweet that gained +850% more impressions and prompted almost +1000% more profile visits than my average 140-characters do.

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