Suspended Accounts in Retrospect: An Analysis of Twitter Spam

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Executive Summary

In this paper, the authors examine the abuse of online social networks at the hands of spammers through the lens of the tools, techniques, and support infrastructure they rely upon. To perform their analysis, they identify over 1.1 million accounts suspended by Twitter for disruptive activities over the course of seven months. In the process, they collect a dataset of 1.8 billion tweets, 80 million of which belong to spam accounts. They use their dataset to characterize the behavior and lifetime of spam accounts, the campaigns they execute, and the wide-spread abuse of legitimate web services such as URL shorteners and free web hosting.

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