Badly Evolved? Exploring Long-Surviving Suspicious Users on Twitter Conference Paper uri icon


  • © 2017, Springer International Publishing AG. We study the behavior of long-lived eventually suspended accounts in social media through a comprehensive investigation of Arabic Twitter. With a threefold study of (i) the content these accounts post; (ii) the evolution of their linguistic patterns; and (iii) their activity evolution, we compare long-lived users versus short-lived, legitimate, and pro-ISIS users. We find that these long-lived accounts – though trying to appear normal – do exhibit significantly different behaviors from both normal and other suspended users. We additionally identify temporal changes and assess their value in supporting discovery of these accounts and find out that most accounts have actually being “hiding in plain sight” and are detectable early in their lifetime. Finally, we successfully apply our findings to address a series of classification tasks, most notably to determine whether a given account is a long-surviving account.

altmetric score

  • 1.85

author list (cited authors)

  • Alfifi, M., & Caverlee, J.

citation count

  • 2

editor list (cited editors)

  • Ciampaglia, G. L., Mashhadi, A. J., & Yasseri, T.

publication date

  • September 2017