‘Massive’ Amount of Fake Accounts Found on Twitter (Again)
According to British researchers, another huge group of fake Twitter accounts have been discovered, throwing even more doubt towards what many say is already a dubious social media outlet.
Founded in 2006 by four workers at a podcasting company, Twitter is basically Instant Messenger on steroids. Instead of just messaging one person, you have followers who will receive all of your messages, or tweets, and you can add video, pictures etc.
Your messages are confined to 140 characters, or letters, numbers, signs, so the service is riddled with confusing abbreviations. The service uses hashtags (#) as the way to link or recognize to other people or accounts, or 'trends.' For example you may end a tweet about Donald Trump with "#trump." You can also boost your numbers by re-tweeting messages you like, and people will often reciprocate by re-tweeting yours.
Researchers told the BBC this week while they were studying accounts and messages to try to further understand how the social media works, they came across another 500,000 fake or 'bot' accounts. Bots are fake accounts that can be programmed to follow certain celebrities, topics and sources. 'tweets' from these fake bots are often used to stack polls, distract people, or even influence discussions on the network. There have been numerous media reports about huge blocks of fake accounts found on the network in the past.
There are actually companies who 'sell' fake accounts to celebrities, as many as 1 million fake followers can be purchased for $1-1,300 dollars. According to various sources as many as 30-40 percent of the followers of celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Oprah, and President Obama were fake or bots. Of Obama's alleged 42 million Twitter followers, 80 percent were found to be fake. A company called StatusPeople's Fake Follower allows you to run programs to determine how many followers are fake or real.
Anyone can spot a fake Facebook or Instagram account from a mile away, or one that's of dubious nature. But Twitter is more difficult. A study by the online company Twopcharts has revealed 44% of the reported 974 million Twitter accounts have never tweeted a single message, and only 13% are considered active with over 100 messages.
By comparison, only about 11 percent of Facebook accounts are found to be fake. The only time we seem to hear about Twitter is on ESPN or an entertainment channel when somebody gets in trouble for tweeting an obscene or controversial statement, such as the ones issued about Barron Trump, Donald's son.
Our advice? Despite hearing so much about Twitter, don't bother. Stick to Facebook, Instagram or other social media sites. Twitter is nothing more than the bird-like babble you hear outside your window in the spring, which was actually the real inspiration for it's name, according to it's founders.