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Instagram to crack down on spam

 Instagram announced late on Friday it planned to tackle its massive spam problem head on, devoting a number of engineers to fixing the issue inside the service.

“There’s no quick fix, but we have a team of engineers working every day to tackle the issue and we hope you’ll notice their improvements,” Instagram said, appropriately enough, in the comments section of a recent photo taken from the official Instagram account.

Take a look at the “Explore” tab inside the Instagram app, and click on any one of the pictures. They’re flooded with spammy comments, ads for promotional accounts and Web sites. Same thing with the account of any major celebrity who uses the service and has a large following.

But now that the small start-up has been acquired and folded into Facebook, CEO Kevin Systrom has the resources and experience of the world’s largest social network to help Instagram in the fight. Facebook has lots of background in this area, having fought against spammers intensely over its eight-year existence with tools like the artificially intelligent Facebook Immune System, and having even gone after some well-established spammers in court.

No word on how Instagram is going to crack down internally, but externally, Instagram wants users to help in a sort of community watch program, flagging spam by clicking through to spammers’ accounts and reporting them.

 

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Anonymous Hackers Target Ukraine

Members of Anonymous recently launched DDoS attacks against several Ukrainian government Web sites in response to the government’s takedown of torrent site Demonoid.

“The collective targeted and took down the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council of Ukraine (nrada.gov.ua), the Ukrainian Agency for Copyright and Related Rights (uacrr.kiev.ua), and the Ukrainian Anti-Piracy Association (apo.kiev.ua),” writes ZDNet’s Emil Protalinski. “All the sites appear to be fully operational again at the time of writing.”

“The move comes days after the Ukrainian government shut down popular bittorent tracker site Demonoid,” writes International Digital Times’ Mo Mozuch. “The group posted a statement on its PR blog condemning the move, and accusing the Ukrainian government of caving in to U.S. anti-piracy pressure.”

“Despite Demonoid blocking all Ukranian IP addresses to avoid upsetting local law, the site still attracted the attention of the authorities,” the statement reads. “The raid on Demonoid was timed to coincide with the first trip of Deputy Prime Minister Valery Khoroshkovsky’s to the United States on the agenda: copyright infringement. This implies that the attack against Demonoid was a preplanned operation, and a deliberate and malicious attack against Internet Freedom. We will not let this go unpunished. We will seek revenge against all criminals responsible and their punishments will be severe.”

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Twitter down!

Looks like Twitter is down again. We started noticing just little while ago and it’s happening on the Web as well as on its iPhone and iPad apps. Twitter tells us it’s aware of the issue and looking into it.

This is the second time this year that Twitter has faced a multi-country outage. The first was a month ago.

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Twitter suffers sustained outage

SAN FRANCISCO: Two service outages within the course of several hours rocked microblogging platform Twitter on Thursday, as users worldwide reported significant down-time and slow service across both Twitter’s website and mobile applications.

The San Francisco-based company declined to say whether a technical failure or a malicious attack was to blame.

North American traffic levels for Twitter.com sharply plummeted on two occasions between 8:30 a.m. PDT (1530 GMT) and 11:00 a.m. PDT (1800 GMT), according to data provided by network analytics company Sandvine.

The first outage lasted between 8:30 a.m. (1530 GMT) and 10:00 a.m. (1700 GMT), data showed.

Twitter acknowledged the disruption in a mid-morning blog post that was continually revised as the service resumed, only to fail for a second time before 11:00 a.m.

“The issue is on-going and engineers are working to resolve it,” the company said in its last blog update.

Twitter, founded in 2006, was plagued in its early years by frequent outages as its servers struggled to handle the ever-rising volume of tweets generated by users worldwide.

The company, which has been under pressure to demonstrate a viable business model, has also made an emphasis on improving its site reliability in recent years. But the service, which hosts 400 million tweets daily, still experiences periodic disruptions.

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