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[liberationtech] Twitter Underground Market Research - pdf

Rich Kulawiec rsk at
Mon Jun 3 06:20:34 PDT 2013

On Sat, Jun 01, 2013 at 02:49:48PM +0200, Andrea St wrote:
> Two weeks ago we presented at Nexa For Internet & Society our Research
> about Twitter and underground market.

Interesting presentation.  To follow up on one of the points it makes,
one of the things I've long since concluded is that (to a good first
approximation) the numbers of likes/followers/fans/whatever on all
these so-called "social networks" are completely fabricated nonsense.
(So, probably, are most of the users.  They most certainly are on
all freemail providers, and there's little reason why the people
responsible for that situation can't apply the same techniques
elsewhere.)  Not to put too fine a point on it, but if any of
those numbers are accurate: it's an accident.

All these mechanisms are readily manipulated by anyone with a little
time, clue or money.  And as to "money", there's a booming underground
economy in buying/selling likes/followers/fans; a rudimentary search
of my small domain database turned up over 3000 involved in doing so,
and I'm sure that's just the tip of the iceberg.  Appended below is
a random (and somewhat mind-numbing) sample of 100 just to give y'all
some idea what's out there.  (BTW, I'm sure some of these are multiple
heads of the same hydra.)

Apparently there are now operations out there which attempt to calculate
some kind of score for people based on their likes/followers/fans/etc.
Frankly, they might as well use a random number generator; they'd
achieve an equivalent level of accuracy.


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