Have Millions of Fake Accounts Fooled Twitter?

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has mentioned several times that millions of people use Twitter only for reading information, and rarely if ever tweet themselves.

But how much does he know?

Fake Twitter Accounts

Companies that sell followers create fake Twitter accounts that rarely tweet, and just have them follow people for money.

So the fact that there are millions of Twitter accounts that rarely tweet doesn’t mean those are people that use Twitter passively for reading without tweeting (much) themselves. Many—most?—of them are fake accounts being sold to people who want to buy followers.

Of course, some of them are real people, but Twitter can’t tell the difference! Twitter hasn’t figured out how to stop fake accounts from being created, and can’t tell the difference between them and real people in order to suspend them

So how many people are just using Twitter “passively?” No one knows…except perhaps the spammers creating fake accounts. But since automated hacking tools are widely available for creating fake Twitter acc0unts, and it’s estimated that selling Twitter followers brings in nearly $50 million each year, it’s fair to say there could be millions of fake accounts.

Spam

Of course, some fake accounts are created in order to send spam. Here’s a list of the latest spam, and spam accounts, for example. But accounts created only to be sold as fake “followers” never spam, because that would risk them getting suspended, and if they were suspended, they couldn’t be sold as followers.

Fortunately, even if hackers find a lucrative way to break into your account or computer just by getting you to click a link, those fake accounts are unlikely to switch over to sending spam, because they make a LOT of money being sold as followers.

And that’s good, because otherwise, millions of fake accounts could suddenly start spamming Twitter.

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