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Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Twitter #bot or not? Posing as Automation/AI specialist & Python guru

I just came across this strange thing on twitter:

Received a notification that some “Virginia A. Osborn” liked a tweet of mine that was a) in Greek b) totally of a subset of Greek residents interest, highly unlikely it would have meant anything to a person with a foreign name. Then I saw that twitter account started following me immediately after that action.

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It smelled bot to me, so I took a look at that account’s profile. She seems to have joined twitter long ago (back in 2010), so I should have probably checked her very first tweets to see what that account was about (wonder if there is an archive of what the profile details were saying back then in case that was a dormant bot).

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It seems that account has quite some followers and several people that post AI-related stuff that I follow, plus it didn’t seem to post unrelated stuff:

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However, I decided to look her name up on Google. I didn’t find much. So I used Google Image Search to look up her profile photo and bingo, it came up at a stock photo collection, together with other shots of that model posing on the same business-related stock photo theme: https://www.istockphoto.com/search/stack/694124043?assettype=image

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So, is this a personna account of some real person or are bots ruling twitter (wonder what the ratio of real persons to bots is currently) and preparing for a future bot-a-gedon? (similar to infected zombie machines that is – wonder if such accounts are already pushing malware links or something).

Of course there’s always the chance that person did a deal with some photographer to pose for him and then used one of those photos in their profile, but I find it highly unlikely.

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Redirecting twiitter into a YouTube-styled reward lure scheme

While I was trying to visit twitter I suddenly was faced with this page, which although very well designed looked immediately suspicious to me, first of all because of the redirects I noticed happening at the address bar and also because the landing URL was using the word “rewardz”.

Moreover the page seems to be mimicing (or blatantly copying) YouTube’s design (esp. the red/white “You” which might also be a trademark of YouTube [is it?]):

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I right clicked the back button in Internet Explorer 9 and found out that I had mistyped twitter.com into twiitter.com which led me to secredir.com and redirected me to video-rewardz.com passing it as parameter on the URL the twiitter.com so that they can track which typos were more successful in leading you there.

So I followed the links (although not suggested to do so on totally unknown websites you get redirected to, especially if you don’t have all security updates installed on your system) to record what it tries to “sell” you:

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Then you see a progress dialog and you land into this page (suggesting they don’t have any more Macbook Air to make you think that others have been trusting them and “winning”):

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And then you get to the truth (with small letters at the bottom). You’re supposed to give your mobile phone number and then get signed up for a costly pay-per-message subscription for ringtones or whatever mobile media assets for a chance to win (yeah, sure).

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Twitter bug calls you a moron?

Now who has to be more clever? Me or the Twitter programmers who apart from not being polite have managed to fail in simple character counting?

They have added automatic link shortening if your message exceeds 140 chars, but fail to count the resulting chars correctly and allow you to press the Tweet button which results in you seeing a message expressed in a quite insulting style.

 

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Bug: “The disk is full” at base.bundle.js of #NewTwitter

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Sometime ago I got the above error screen (after clicking on the error notice at the statusbar) on IE8/Vista at the new Twitter UI (aka #NewTwitter). Exactly what does “The disk is full.” error mean to say? Wonder if twimg.com (probably used to host images served by Twitter like avatar images) was itself running out of disk space and this was some error string returned via AJAX or if it’s some silly error message (maybe cause their code thought IE8 supports HTML5 local storage or something).

Maybe they’ve fixed it now, but in general even the classic Twitter UI didn’t seem to always play ok with IE8, e.g. Retweet didn’t always work (would see “Error on page” at the bottom) and you had to click on “x minutes ago” under a given status update to go to a page where you could retweet it…

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