Wow! It would appear that the latest bizarre twist in the world of social media belongs to twitter and, believe you me, I am glad, because I’m fed up with writing about the latest debacle at FB (can’t even bring myself to type the name today!).
It goes like this: social media is apparently a game of quantity not quality. As a result, people obsess about how many followers they have. This obsession actually leads some people/entities to buy followers in an attempt to create a false impression of legitimacy and/or authority.
Yes, you read that correctly. There are people on eBay and elsewhere selling followers. The saddest part of this is that most of these followers are not even real people! They’re twitterbots, often with profiles that have been ripped off from actual users and the name changed slightly to make it work. These bots will even send out tweets to keep the illusion going.
“What’s the going rate?” I hear you ask. Well, it seems that $5 can get you 1000 fake followers. There are also people advertising that they will “tweet anything” for $3.99.
This is a great way to spam, don’t you think? It’s also a great way to spread viruses, hijack accounts and have people driven to mal-urls (this is my phrase and you saw it here first!).
Twitter has been under a lot of FTC scrutiny, but as I have written before, they are very slow to act and take security seriously. Even fake tweets purporting to come from President Obama won’t spur them into action.
So once again it falls back on the user to protect themselves (which you must do anyway – it would just be nice to have some help once in awhile). Use strong passwords, watch for suspicious activity, and take advantage of services such as TwitterAudit.com or SocialBakers.com, who can verify your followers.
My twitter account is @techiven and I regularly go in and remove followers who just don’t look right. I am in search of quality not quantity! John and Paul were right: money can’t buy you love.