Earlier this year, the New York Times published a report noting that several athletes, politicians, celebrities and pundits have millions of fake followers on social media. The publisher reported that there are many people on the social networking sites who pay for increasing their follower lists. The report further revealed that an obscure U.S.-based company, dubbed Devumi, has provided its customers with more than 200 million Twitter followers.
Twitter removes more than a million fake accounts in a few days
In the same month, the micro-blogging giant, Twitter, finally took the step of deleting more than a million fake accounts. The prominent users of the social media platform who had bought the Twitter followers saw a sharp reduction in the number of their followers. This came after the micro-blogging giant was criticized for the proliferation of false accounts.
This interesting campaign of Twitter against the bots came when law enforcement officials and federal lawmakers began investigating Devumi and its rivals online. There are many websites that sell engagement and fake followers, not only Twitter but other social media platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube as well. According to a research study, around 19% of the messages that were viewed by the social network’s users during the last month of the U.S. presidential campaign were generated by bots.
As part of its Information Quality efforts, the micro-blogging site declared that it is making a few changes to the Twitter API and TweetDeck in order to control the ability of users to work across multiple accounts. Further, in an interview to CNN, Twitter spokesman said that it is regularly looking for any suspicious account behaviors to crackdown on spam-like behavior. Moreover, the spokesperson said that Twitter concentrates on any suspicious account behavior that indicates automated activity or abusive behavior.
Twitter trying to purge fake accounts
Twitter is also taking proactive action on accounts that it believes are in violation of its rules, including asking for additional information like requesting account owners to confirm their phone numbers. The microblogging site has refused to comment on how many accounts were requested to verify their authenticity with a phone number or how many Twitter accounts were removed.
The changes, which were announced in February, also resulted in the hashtag #TwitterLockOut. The far-right and conservative users of the micro-blogging site said that they have lost thousands of followers. They blamed the social media platform for the “lockout of conservative accounts;” hence the hashtag #TwitterLockOut. Another study reveals that false news spreads faster on the social network Twitter than real news does. The study found that fake news spreads faster on the micro-blogging giant than other social networks and at a faster rate, not just because of bots but also because of people who retweet fake news items on the social media platform.