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The Underground Economy of Social Networks 84

Posted by timothy
from the such-a-strange-world-we-live-in dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In a new study, Barracuda Labs analyzed a random sampling of more than 70,000 fake Twitter accounts that are being used to sell fake Twitter followers. They also analyzed some of the people that are using such fake followers including the recent example of U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney's Twitter account. Between Facebook's 10-Q filing stating that 83 million of its accounts are fake, to Mitt Romney's Twitter account recently falling under scrutiny for suspicious followings, fake social network profiles are a hot topic at the moment. And these fake profiles are at the center of a very vibrant and growing underground economy. This underground economy consists of dealers who create and sell the use of thousands of fake social accounts, and abusers who buy follows or likes from these fake accounts to boost their perceived popularity, sell advertising based on their now large social audience or conduct other malicious activity."
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The Underground Economy of Social Networks

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  • Shills aren't new (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i kan reed (749298) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @12:02PM (#40906199) Homepage Journal

    Bulk shills are. Welcome to the future, where the difference between a valid viewpoint and an astroturfed attempt to hornswaggle you out of your own money and political power has shrunk to the imperceptible.

  • I would have phrased this differently:

    This underground economy consists of dealers who create and sell the use of thousands of fake social accounts, and abusers who buy follows or likes from these fake accounts to boost their perceived popularity, sell advertising based on their now large social audience or conduct other malicious activity."

    We could probably go with something like this:

    This underground economy consists of dealers who create and sell the use of thousands of fake social accounts, and suckers who buy follows or likes from these fake accounts to boost their perceived popularity while under the misguided impression that these numbers convince people to purchase their product

    One "like" from a "friend" is worth a hundred thousand likes from random strangers (even if they're real people). And one detailed comment about a product from an actual trusted friend is worth more than a hundred thousand likes from friends.

  • Re:I wonder .. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dc29A (636871) * on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @12:05PM (#40906237)

    That statement assumes that the average user^H^H^H^H^product of Facebook cares about privacy.

  • Why use twitter (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vlm (69642) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @12:16PM (#40906355)

    fake Twitter accounts that are being used to sell fake Twitter followers

    Why use twitter? It sounds more and more like that fight club speech WRT doing work at jobs we hate to buy things we don't need to impress people we don't like. Is there anyone still using twitter who is not a bot, bot dealer, or PR shill?

  • The actual problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ryanrule (1657199) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @12:23PM (#40906435)

    is advertising. It needs to be pretty much removed from modern life. Attracts the slimiest motherfuckers.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @12:49PM (#40906799)

    Welcome to the future, where the difference between a valid viewpoint and an astroturfed attempt to hornswaggle you out of your own money and political power has shrunk to the imperceptible.

    Indeed, the very story submission itself was crafted by the Democratic party... it would have been pretty easy to write up a less obviously partisan story summary but they couldn't be bothered to even try and hide.

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