Behind The Mystery Of Spam Tweets Clogging Syrian Protesters’ Streams
Protests in Syria are getting intense. So has social media use by those seeking the latest news. But a more sinister brand of Twitter user has also taken to posting furiously under the same topic protesters have used.
A well-organized campaign with possible traces to the Syrian government has been drowning the #syria hashtag in spam–forcing Twitter to intervene and to block the spam accounts from appearing in searches. Shortly thereafter, at least one of accounts began threatening a well-known Syrian free speech activist.
The story broke when Anas Qteish, a Syrian expatriate “blogger, translator [and] tech enthusiast” based in the United States, noted at the GlobalVoices site that a number ofTwitter spam accounts had popped up after the beginning of the Syrian protests. The accounts Qteish mentioned posted primarily in Arabic. These spam accounts, with names such as @thelovelysyria, @syriabeauty, @syleague, @karamahclub, @syhumor, @dnnnewsand @mbking13 all regularly posted automated tweets full of nonsense unrelated to happenings in Syria with the #syria hashtag appended. One account, for example only posted old sports scores.
Wed Apr 20, 2011
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