Fake Twitter Followers Are A Huge, Growing Business and Difficult To Spot

With every new boom on the Internet, there usually comes some sort of business that deals with it. In comes Facebook, and ads follow. In come sold-out arenas, and in comes StubHub. You get the gist. With Twitter, however, the business that has followed hasn't entirely been straight-and-narrow. While the company is earning revenue via advertisements and sponsored tweets, there's a seedy underbelly that's operating behind the scenes, outside of the reach of Twitter's authority. It's the business of fake followers, and it's steadily growing into a multimillion-dollar industry.

Like most everything in life, clout matters, and on Twitter that's exceptionally true. One of the easiest ways to judge someone's allure on Twitter is to view their follower count -- but of course, gaining actual followers for those who aren't celebrities can be mighty tough. So, entire websites have been erected to provide fake followers to those willing to pay up. Most are sold in batches of 1,000, with some sites promising tens of thousands of followers if they fork out enough cash.

The average price (today) for an extra 1,000 followers is $18, and it seems that the creation process is so easily automated that legions of people are getting their slice of the pie. Of course, it seems just a matter of time before Twitter steps in and halts the creation of such accounts, but figuring out an automatic way to decipher between a fake account and a real one is tougher than you might think.

Whatever the case, it's probably not worth the hassle in picking up fake followers; what gain is there if you're busted?

Tags:  Facebook, Twitter, social
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