Black market business is booming on Twitter

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A study on Twitter dealers, abusers and fake accounts

Fake activities are against Twitter’s rules as undermine its value as a social media

As a social media, Twitter provides a modern-day scene for both, individuals and businesses to become popular or famous. Most users try the standard way to do this. They constantly tweet funny quotes or comments, discuss breaking events, or disclose information that they think many people find interesting. However, some others think them selfs smarter and look for unusual ways to appear more desirable and become popular faster. Especially, new companies and fresh marketers are very tempted to do so. One of the most common ways is buying Twitter followers, which is a significantly growing trend.

Recently, Barracuda Labs conducted a study of fake Twitter profiles on social media platforms in order to better protect its 150,000 customers from being phished or harmed. Earlier, the company announced the results of its study on Facebook Fake Profiles at http://barracudalabs.com/fbinfographic/.

The team investigated the business of trading followers on eBay and other websites searched from Google for as long as 75 days. It turns out, the black market for selling and buying Twitter followers and RT’s is booming! Here is a recent infographic http://barracudalabs.com/underground/, titeled The Underground Economy of Buying Twitter Followers.

The quick conclusions of the study and the statistics are:

  • Twitter followers dealers are pretty skilled already. They can control the following speed and total following number of fake accounts to avoid being suspended by Twitter.
  • Twitter followers dealers keep developing various business services from controlled accounts to selling 2000 re-tweets for $5.
  • Twitter followers dealers can apply obscure techniques to make them hard to detect, e.g., randomly following some famous and some average people, or posting tweets grabbed from the Twitter stream, etc.
  • Users, or abusers, who buy Twitter followers often try to avoid being caught as well, by buying followers multiple times from different services. Half of them own from 4,000 to 26,000 followers.
  • Authentication is not required when buying Twitter followers from eBay or other websites, so anyone can buy followers for other Twitter users. You can even gift Twitter followers to someone.

All these “fake” activities are against Twitter’s rules as undermine its value as a social media. Twitter keeps on detecting and suspending fake accounts and followings, but still fake accounts continue to grow, blended into the massive Twitter population.

The black market business of buying and selling Twitter followers and retweets is just booming, but if you want to remain on the social media for long enough to get some return for your invested time, it is better to play it clean!

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