The Underground Economy of Social Networks

#Internet

Wed, Aug 8th, 2012 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

The Net Security website has an article explaining the growing business of fake followers on Twitter. They use as an example Mitt Romney's followers, nothing how 80% of them are less than 3 months old.

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.

"Fake users should be a huge concern to both Facebook and Twitter because of the threat they create to user trust, online security and the overall community feeling of the social networks," said Dr. Paul Judge, chief research officer at Barracuda Networks. "This obviously threatens advertising revenue as organizations begin to question the true visibility and reach of their ad campaigns."

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