Twitter Turns Up Heat On Fake Accounts

Leading up to the midterm elections in November, Twitter is turning up the heat on fake accounts and spam.

That includes expanding its rules to better reflect how it identifies fake accounts, and what types of inauthentic activity violates its guidelines, according to Del Harvey and Yoel Roth, respectively vice president, trust and safety and head of site integrity at Twitter.

“We now may remove fake accounts engaged in a variety of emergent, malicious behaviors,” Harvey and Roth warn in a new blog post.

To determine whether an account is fake or not, factors that Twitter will now take into account include the use of stock or stolen avatar photos, stolen or copied profile bios, and intentionally misleading profile information, including profile locations.

If Twitter can attribute an account to an entity known to be violating its rules, the company will take action.

Additionally, “We are expanding our enforcement approach to include accounts that deliberately mimic or are intended to replace accounts we have previously suspended for violating our rules,” according to Harvey and Roth.



Already, Twitter’s rules prohibit the distribution of hacked material that contains private information or trade secrets, or could put people in harm’s way.

Now, the social giant is expanding the criteria for when it takes action on accounts that claim responsibility for a hack, which include threats and public incentives to hack specific people and accounts.

To date, Twitter says it has seen positive results from its investments in “conversational health” and information integrity.

As part of those efforts, Twitter banned hundreds of accounts over the summer. In on instance, the company removed about 50 accounts that were misrepresenting themselves as members of various state Republican parties.

“We have also taken action on tweets sharing media regarding elections and political issues with misleading or incorrect party affiliation information,” according to Harvey and Roth.

“We continue to partner closely with the RNC, DNC, and state election institutions to improve how we handle these issues.”

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