New York Attorney General is investigating fake Twitter followers for sale

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman credit: nys.gov

Followers for sale investigation comes after a New York Times exposé released yesterday

 

On Jan 27, a substantial report published by The New York Times revealed an industry that provides fake followers, sometimes in the millions, to social media users. New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman has announced he has opened an investigation into Devumi, the company featured in the NYT article.

After the 2016 Presidential race,  the use auto bots and accounts on Facebook and Twitter have been exposed and confirmed during recent months. Last Novemver, AG Schneiderman revealed his office was investigating the matter with the FCC during the Net Neutrality open comments process.

Yesterday, in response to the recent NYT article Schneiderman said this on his own twitter account:

Shockingly, the New York Times article quickly had millions of likes, retweets and shares, links below-
received  227 Replies,  3,712 Retweets,  7,407 likes
 The Times published article profiled social media group Devumi, which claims to increase a social media presence on sites like Twitter, YouTube, SoundCloud, Vimeo, Pintrest, or LinkedIn. The article alleges that the company sells fake followers, they sometimes use details of real people, including minors.  NYT investigation alleged revealed Devumi provided customers with “more than 200 million followers” with over 55,000 profiles using names, profile pictures, hometowns and other personal information of REAL twitter users.

The article profiles Devumi’s customers: actors, athletes, politicians, and influencers who seek to increase their social media presence with automated bots that retweet and like posts. The Times says that while there are a number of other companies that provide fake followers to paying customers, these companies take advantage of platforms that lend themselves well to fake accounts. Twitter doesn’t require a real identity to create an account, and while the company says that it works to eliminate accounts that post spam, former employees say that the companies have not paid enough attention to the matter of fake accounts.

Read the article here if you like:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/01/27/technology/social-media-bots.html

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