Posted on | September 13, 2013 | 53 Comments
During another conversation with a friend — and, as usual, by “conversation” I mean me ranting like a madman — about this continuing problem, I made the point that only lax policy by Twitter could make this kind of bogus spam scam feasible.
These fake accounts are all generated by the same algorithmic software, so that they are formulaic and predictable, with the same photo avatars used over and over. Just scanning down the list of thousands of fake accounts now following me on Twitter, I’d estimate they’ve got about 300 or 400 different avatar photos. They’ve programmed a certain number of first and last names into the algorithm, with a few hundred aphoristic sayings (culled from WikiQuotes) used as profile slogans. Always, it’s “United States, [Insert Random State]” as location, and they’re following a couple dozen of the same Twitter accounts.
Because the formula is so obvious, you realize that the fake-account scammers don’t even really have to try very hard to evade whatever security screens Twitter has in place to prevent this kind of fraudulent abuse. It’s such a piece of cake to get through the screens that a simple algorithmic program can auto-generate fake counts by the thousands without anybody at Twitter even noticing!
If Twitter doesn’t take action — and by “take action,” of course I mean siccing the FBI on these spammers and putting a few of them in federal prison so as to put the fear of God into anyone else who would even be tempted to think about trying it again — I’m going to keep hammering them every day. How long have these miserable spambot merchants been doing these cheesy fake accounts and getting away with it? I don’t know, but the day somebody decided to target me for this plague of Twitter locusts was the beginning of the end for them.
- Sept. 12: Dear @Twitter Security: Kill These Fake Accounts (Real People RT, Please)
- Sept. 12: Can @Twitter @Safety Prevent This?
- Sept. 13: Crime Is a People Problem: Why @Twitter Must Prosecute Fake Account Makers