Studio: The lucrative business of buying and selling of followers on Twitter
The existence of fake profiles on Twitter and should not be surprise to anyone. What can draw attention is the growing economy behind them, buying and selling of followers, to make a character appear more influential than it actually is (it has more followers), or make it seem like a topic or campaign are more popular than they actually are.
BarracudaLabs security company conducted a study on the fake profiles on Twitter and trade there with them. The organization created three fake accounts and purchased between 20,000 and 70,000 followers on eBay and other sites found through Google by searching “buy Twitter followers.”
With this information, they identified 20 vendors on eBay and 58 through websites. The purchase is simply saying what Twitter account add up the followers, and the average price for 1000 followers is $18. Meanwhile, 2,000 retweets cost about $5.
According BarracudaLabs, a seller may collect about $800 a week, if you can control some 20,000 fake accounts, which apparently managed to do some of them.
The research also reveals some information about people who are dedicated to buying false followers to be more popular. They identified 11,283 “abusers” as they were called, who were an average 48,885 fans. Most of the abusers had a link on their profile, which would imply an intent to sell or promote something. Meanwhile, they identified 72,212 fake accounts. 55% of them had about 2,000 followers.
Vendors control the rate at which false accounts begin to follow someone, so as to avoid detection by Twitter, which prohibits the creation of fake accounts and the Sale of followers.
According BarracudaLabs, prices of followers and retweets vary carefully putting the seller in not being discovered. Thus, the more expensive the follower, the more real it looks, for example, following celebrities and normal people random daily comments or tweeting or copied to other normal users, making counterfeiting more difficult to detect.
– The Twitter underground economy: A blooming business (The Barracuda Labs Internet Security)