Report examines changes in Twitter since Arab Spring & how it became govt. tool to silence human rights defenders

Author: Yarno Ritzen, Al Jazeera, Published on: 29 July 2019

'It exists to demobilise opposition': How Twitter fails Arabs", 16 Jul 2019

Social media platforms were essential in the Arab Spring, but governments soon learned how to counter dissent online... Al Jazeera examines how Twitter in the Middle East has changed since the Arab Spring. Government talking points are being magnified through thousands of accounts...and silencing people on Twitter is only part of a large-scale effort by governments to stop human rights activists...from being heard...[S]warms of anonymous Twitter accounts [appeared] that attacked anyone who supported the protests against Bashar al-Assad...[A]nonymous accounts, known as bots, were flooding activist hashtags with unrelated content... diluting their messaging...During its rise to power in Iraq and Syria,...ISIL (or ISIS) group used Twitter as one of its main propaganda tools... Since the Arab Spring, Gulf states have continued clamping down on activists and invested heavily in state surveillance capabilities...  [T]he lack of freedom of expression, high internet penetration and massive financial resources are the perfect breeding ground for armies of fake accounts and automated Twitter propaganda....What Twitter is doing to combat propaganda and bots is unclear, as the company only shares some of its data every couple of months and its algorithms for fighting fake accounts are secret... Twitter said it has been strengthening its platform to prevent propaganda by automated accounts... "Twitter's number one priority is to improve the health of the public conversation. Part of this work involves tackling spam and automated activity... [W]e have expanded our rules and invested in better tools to help us stay ahead of malicious actors," the company said...

Read the full post here

Related companies: Twitter