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Twitter's Fake Follower Bots


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THE FOLLOWER FACTORY -

"Everyone wants to be popular online.
Some even pay for it.
Inside social media’s black market....

Celebrities, athletes, pundits and politicians have millions of fake followers.

 

The world’s social media platforms are struggling to respond.

 

.... customers of an obscure American company named Devumi that has collected millions of dollars in a shadowy global marketplace for social media fraud. Devumi sells Twitter followers and retweets to celebrities, businesses and anyone who wants to appear more popular or exert influence online. Drawing on an estimated stock of at least 3.5 million automated accounts, each sold many times over, the company has provided customers with more than 200 million Twitter followers, a New York Times investigation found. ....

These accounts are counterfeit coins in the booming economy of online influence, reaching into virtually any industry where a mass audience — or the illusion of it — can be monetized. Fake accounts, deployed by governments, criminals and entrepreneurs, now infest social media networks. By some calculations, as many as 48 million of Twitter’s reported active users — nearly 15 percent — are automated accounts designed to simulate real people, though the company claims that number is far lower.

In November, Facebook disclosed to investors that it had at least twice as many fake users as it previously estimated, indicating that up to 60 million automated accounts may roam the world’s largest social media platform. These fake accounts, known as bots, can help sway advertising audiences and reshape political debates....

At a time when Facebook, Twitter and Google are grappling with an epidemic of political manipulation and fake news, Devumi’s fake followers also serve as phantom foot soldiers in political battles online. Devumi’s customers include both avid supporters and fervent critics of President Trump, and both liberal cable pundits .....

The more people influencers reach, the more money they make. According to data collected by Captiv8, a company that connects influencers to brands, an influencer with 100,000 followers might earn an average of $2,000 for a promotional tweet, while an influencer with a million followers might earn $20,000. ...

“We’re working with completely unregulated, closed ecosystems that aren’t reporting on these things. They have a perverse incentive to let it happen,” said Mr. Essaid, the cybersecurity expert. “They want to police it to the extent it doesn’t seem obvious, but they make money off it.” .....

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/01/27/technology/social-media-bots.html

 

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New York attorney general launches investigation into bot factory after Times exposé

 

“Impersonation and deception are illegal under New York law. We’re opening an investigation into Devumi and its apparent sale of bots using stolen identities,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman tweeted on Saturday, soon after the Times report was released. “The internet should be one of the greatest tools for democracy—but it’s increasingly being turned into an opaque, pay-to-play playground.” ....

There’s a lot that’s wild about the Devumi story, including just how widespread — and easy — it is to pull this off....

 

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/1/27/16940426/eric-schneiderman-fake-accounts-twitter-times

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Sun-Times halts Richard Roeper column to investigate allegation he bought Twitter followers

"...Chicago Sun-Times film critic and columnist Richard Roeper, who the New York Times reported this weekend is among a slew of celebs who have paid to artificially boost their Twitter following with what turned out to be fake accounts.

And on Monday, Sun-Times editor Chris Fusco told Inc. in an email that "we're investigating these issues. We will not be publishing any reviews or columns by Rich until this investigation is complete."

 

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chicagoinc/ct-met-richard-roeper-twitter-0130-chicago-inc-20180129-story.html

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Twitter deleted 200,000 Russian troll tweets. Read them here.

Twitter doesn't make it easy to track Russian propaganda efforts — this database can help

 

NBC News is publishing its database of more than 200,000 tweets that Twitter has tied to "malicious activity" from Russia-linked accounts during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

These accounts, working in concert as part of large networks, pushed hundreds of thousands of inflammatory tweets, from fictitious tales of Democrats practicing witchcraft to hardline posts from users masquerading as Black Lives Matter activists. Investigators have traced the accounts to a Kremlin-linked propaganda outfit founded in 2013 known as the Internet Research Association (IRA).

 

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/social-media/now-available-more-200-000-deleted-russian-troll-tweets-n844731?cid=sm_npd_nn_tw_ma

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1 minute ago, mr6666 said:

Twitter deleted 200,000 Russian troll tweets. Read them here.

Twitter doesn't make it easy to track Russian propaganda efforts — this database can help

 

NBC News is publishing its database of more than 200,000 tweets that Twitter has tied to "malicious activity" from Russia-linked accounts during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

These accounts, working in concert as part of large networks, pushed hundreds of thousands of inflammatory tweets, from fictitious tales of Democrats practicing witchcraft to hardline posts from users masquerading as Black Lives Matter activists. Investigators have traced the accounts to a Kremlin-linked propaganda outfit founded in 2013 known as the Internet Research Association (IRA).

 

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/social-media/now-available-more-200-000-deleted-russian-troll-tweets-n844731?cid=sm_npd_nn_tw_ma

"The Russians utilize this tool because it's relatively cheap, it's low risk, it offers what they perceive as plausible deniability and it's proven to be effective at sowing division," he told the annual hearing on worldwide threats. "We expect Russia to continue using propaganda, social media, false flag personas, sympathetic spokesmen, and other means of influence to try to build on its wide range of operations and exacerbate social and political fissures in the United States." ...

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

" Twitter has pruned more suspected trolls and fake accounts from its platform, prompting several of its most outspoken conservative users to complain Wednesday that they had lost thousands of followers overnight.

Conservatives quickly decried what they called the "#twitterlockout," adding it to their list of grievances against what they see as an ideologically liberal tech industry.........

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/21/twitter-purges-accounts-conservatives-357028

:lol:

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No collusion @readonly8808

 

the russias collusion is deepstate sharia fake news of the Mueller. Only real Americas here we vote for trump we use the coal. No collusion.

2:50 PM - 24 Feb 2018
----------------------------------------------------------
Paul FarhiVerified account @farhip 18h18 hours ago
 
 

Paul Farhi Retweeted No collusion

Google Translate didn’t work so well for Internet Research Agency Employee. No. 40962.

 

:lol:

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