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  • Fake persuaders

    MIT Technology Review - 03/23/2015

    On Twitter as many as one in 20 active accounts are fakes. Facebook’s equivalent number is a little more than one in 100 active users. Software tools that help you make new accounts in bulk can easily be found or bought online, says Christo Wilson, an assistant professor at Northeastern University who has studied the problem of fake accounts.

    One of his students recently tested some of those tools and set up 40 Twitter accounts and 12 Facebook accounts in a single day before the companies blocked new registrations from that Internet connection. Simple evasive measures would probably have allowed many more accounts to be made. Investors closely scrutinize active user counts to gauge the value and potential of social networks. That encourages sites to ensure that their security systems don’t block legitimate users, says Wilson, making it easier for fake accounts to flourish.

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