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Twitter Says it’s Suspended More Than 70,000 Accounts Following the Capitol Riots

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Have you noticed a drop in your Twitter follower numbers of late?

You’re not alone – though that may reveal an uncomfortable truth about your audience that you may also need to deal with.

According to a new update from Twitter, in the wake of the Capitol riots last Wednesday, it launched a mass purge of accounts that it found were primarily dedicated to sharing QAnon content.

As per Twitter:

“Many of the individuals impacted by this updated enforcement action held multiple accounts, driving up the total number of accounts impacted. Since Friday, more than 70,000 accounts have been suspended as a result of our efforts.”

Twitter says that these accounts “were engaged in sharing harmful QAnon-associated content at scale and were primarily dedicated to the propagation of this conspiracy theory across the service”.

Twitter notes that, along with its regular spam account challenges, which it also warned about late last week, this new action against QAnon related accounts has seen some profiles lose thousands of followers in a matter of days.

So that’d be it – if you’re seeing a big drop in your followers it’s likely because you were followed by a lot of QAnon supporters and/or bots. Probably not your ideal demographic profile, and it might be a good prompt to refresh your brand messaging.

In addition to the account purge, Twitter has also outlined its updated approach to misinformation about the election – or as Twitter puts it ‘violations of our civic integrity policy’. The revised strategy will include improved automated detection tools to weed out problematic tweets related to the election result, while Twitter will also look to ban accounts with tweets that are repeatedly labeled for violations of its policy.

Twitter has also moved to limit interaction with labeled tweets:

“On Tuesday, we limited engagement by no longer allowing any Tweets labeled for violations of our civic integrity policy to be replied to, Liked or Retweeted. People on Twitter are still able to Quote Tweet to share this content with additional context or their own perspective.”

That could limit the spread of such claims by reducing discussion and engagement.

And finally, Twitter also says that it has blocked several keywords from Search and Trends as a result of their connection to election misinformation. TikTok and Instagram also blocked several hashtags and terms that related to the Capitol protests, while earlier today, Facebook announced that it would remove all posts which include the phrase ‘stop the steal’ heading into Inauguration Day.

The updated enforcement measures are the latest in the broader removal of conspiracy theories relating to the election, in order to avoid further civil unrest. The results of the election have now been certified, after facing several legal challenges from the Trump administration, and as such, the continued speculation of alleged voter fraud only serve to further provoke an already divided America.

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Lessening the discussion makes sense within the context of civil unrest, but many will see this as continued censorship, and it’s important that all the major platforms do use this incident as a guidepost to define a more concrete strategy to avoid the same moving forward.

That’s not easy to do – effective moderation also needs to evolve with users and usage trends. But the Capitol riots brought the threat of social media-inspired unrest to the very heart of US democracy, and there can be no denying the potential of similar uprisings moving forward.

Socialmediatoday.com

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NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

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But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

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One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

[embedded content]

Searchenginejournal.com

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