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Twitter Cracking Down on Underage Accounts

If your kids use Twitter, you might have heard about how the platform has been suspending the accounts of users it believes were underage when they signed up for the popular social media service. This move has caused widespread confusion and raised questions for other companies struggling to comply with new data-privacy laws. While it is not certain what has prompted this action, media reports highlight examples of account suspensions that occurred in late May when the European Union's new General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, came into effect. That new provision holds that tech companies processing the personal data of children must obtain explicit consent from a parent or guardian.

Twitter Using New Way to Counter Misinformation

Twitter has announced that user behavior, not simply tweet content, will now be a factor in the way conversations are modified, or even blocked from general consumption. Content from users could be demoted by the platform's algorithm if the users have been blocked frequently, if they have multiple accounts using the same IP address, or if they regularly tweet to a large number of accounts that they don't follow.

Twitter is a Disaster During a Disaster

This may not surprise you, but during disasters, Twitter is full of false information. When confronted with falsehoods, “86 to 91 percent of the users spread the false news by retweeting or liking,” reports a new study from the University at Buffalo. “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate how apt Twitter users are at debunking falsehoods during disasters,” said Jun Zhuang, associate professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the school, and the lead author of the study. “Unfortunately, the results paint a less-than-flattering picture”.

Twitter Joins Study to Reduce Abuse on the App

Twitter is participating in an experiment proposed by to determine whether displaying rules of behavior to its users can cut down on abusive content. Results of the study, which also aims at improved privacy protection, will be evaluated independently. Other similar research has shown that the clear display of rules by institutions makes people more likely to follow them. The news of this experiment could be an interesting discussion starter with kids on online abuse and etiquette. Do they think displaying the rules could change people’s behavior online?

Hamilton 68

Are you curious about the Russian social media disinformation campaigns that have been a hot topic in the news recently? The Hamilton 68 dashboard tracks Russian social media in real time as it appears on Twitter. Named after Alexander Hamilton's Federalist Paper 68 (on the importance of "protecting America’s electoral process from foreign meddling"), the dashboard initially tracked election-related tweets but has since expanded to additional topics, such as the Parkland school shooting. It is an interesting tool to look at with your kids when talking about misinformation online.

Twitter Working to Offer Verification to All

Verification – those blue check marks that appear on certain profiles mainly belonging to celebrities - may soon be an option for any Twitter user, CEO Jack Dorsey announced recently. The company's goal is to widen verification "in a way that's scalable, where ... people can verify more facts about themselves and we don't have to be the judge or imply any bias on our part," Dorsey says.

Twitter – Some Positive Uses By Schools

Twitter sometimes gets a bad rap. Early on, education critics bemoaned the idea of kids communicating in 140 characters and warned they would never learn to write properly. But Twitter, like all sorts of social media apps, has now made peace with many educators who have learned to harness its appeal to help them teach, as well as discuss with students the power and the possibilities of social media in an effort to drive digital literacy. A recent article entitled Teach Students To Use Social Media (The Right Way) And The Possibilities Are Endless on the National Public Radio education site (nprED) outlines many of the positive ways educators are using Twitter. This is a good read for parents who may be skeptical or just want to know more about how teachers are incorporating social media into the classroom.

Cutting Back on the Archiving of Tweets

The Library of Congress has announced it will stop archiving every tweet on Twitter beginning Jan. 1. The current archives go back to when Twitter was started in 2006. Officials said the volume of tweets has increased dramatically since the Library of Congress began archiving – currently at half a billion a day  - but going forward, it will archive only selected tweets.

The Most Liked Tweet on Twitter EVER

Donald Trump’s use of Twitter has certainly put that social media platform front and center this year. Curious about what tweets were the most liked or the most retweeted tweets of 2017 (so far)? Take a look at In 2017, Barack Obama beat Donald Trump . . . at retweets from The Washington Post to see the top ten in each category. The most popular tweet of all time?  “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion..." from Barack Obama.

Some Tweets are More “Newsworthy” Than Other Tweets

The controversy over whether President Trump’s Twitter account should be banned because some of his posts could be considered threats or bullying continues. In recent news, there was a renewed call to bar Trump from Twitter after Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, stated that recent inflammatory tweets from Mr. Trump should be considered “a declaration of war.” Recently, Twitter issued a statement from its policy team saying that it took a number of factors into account when dealing with violations of the company’s user agreement, including the “newsworthiness” of the tweet. Many users took issue with this policy because they feel it violates Twitter’s Terms of Service statement and implies that some users and their tweets, even those that may be considered bullying or threats, are protected because Twitter deems them “newsworthy.”

Twitter Tests a Longer Character Limit

It was not so long ago that some experts were predicting the collapse of coherent thinking in this country because of the 140 character limit on Twitter. Now Twitter is considering doubling that length by testing a character limit of 280 characters. "When people don't have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people tweeting," a company blog post stated. Twitter said the people who will get to test the 280-character tweets would be randomly selected, and whether that would include prominent Twitter users like President Trump is unclear.

Twitter Character Limits Change

Twitter users will be able to squeeze more words into their tweets thanks to changes the social network plans launched in mid September, The Verge reported recently. The changes will exempt certain features from counting toward its 140-character limit, including media attachments such as photos, GIFs, videos and polls. To a lesser degree, the @names in tweet replies will also not be counted toward the limit.

Is Twitter in Trouble Because of Bullying?

Twitter has become a popular conduit for politicians this political season, but there is a lot of heavy criticism for the volume of hate speech and bullying that remains unfiltered on the app. BuzzFeed recently featured a scathing article on the continuing failure of Twitter to stop the abuse of users and the enablement of trolling. The article is a must read for parents of teens who use the app, and is a good starting point for conversation about the topic.

Twitter Takes Action on Online Abuse

Twitter recently addressed longtime complaints by banning certain users and making its exclusive "verified status" option to be more openly available. Verified accounts include those maintained by public figures and organizations in music, TV, film, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business, and other key interest areas. The accounts have a blue checkmark next to the user's name to show the user or organization has been vetted by Twitter and the user's phone number and email address are legitimate.


This action was a direct result of the abuse that "Ghostbusters" actress Leslie Jones received from Milo Yiannopoulos, a tech editor at who has been suspended in the past for violating Twitter's code of conduct. Yiannopoulos incited his followers to bombard Jones with tweets criticizing the "Ghostbusters" new release that features all-female leads. Digital rights activists and victims of online abuse have long called for more proactive solutions that would give users means to address harassment more quickly without waiting for a response from the site's complaint department, or to ban repeat offenders who switch accounts.

Longer Tweets Coming

Twitter is considering extending the maximum length of tweets to 10,000 characters, sour

Take Five: Posting on Social Media

Educators have stirred debate about the use of social media, both locally and elsewhere, sometimes garnering national attention for their online posts.

Tweets Now Show Up in Google Desktop Searches

Careful, what you tweet will show up in front of many more eyes.

On Target Tweets About Kids and Technology

Just for fun, take a look at these 16 tweets about kids, parenting and percept

User Recourse Announced for Revenge Pictures on Twitter

Twitter recently announced a change to The Twitter Rules, explicitly prohibiting “revenge porn” or other n

Twitter Using Phone Numbers to Hunt Down Trolls

As part of Twitter’s plight to improve the safety of its subscribers, new users will be prevented from registering accounts with the phone numbers of known trolls (people who deliberately provoke o