In the pre-millennial world, anyone who could lay claim to hundreds of thousands of followers would legitimately be able to call themselves a celebrity, possibly even a messianic leader of the masses. In today’s Twittersphere, a million followers looks good – but even that may count for nothing, thanks to fake Twitter followers.
Those with millions upon millions of followers may not be worth listening to because, while they appear to have an inordinate amount of people in thrall to each of their pithy quibbles, their popularity may be entirely bogus. Fake Twitter followers have provoked a fake identity crisis that is undermining the value of Twitter. What’s worse is that Twitter is doing little to stop it escalating.
At the heart of the problem are the individuals and ‘companies’ who are selling fake followers. An illicit ecosystem has built up around Twitter, and it’s one that will survive because its operators and beneficiaries aren’t breaking the law and they care little for Twitter’s rules.
To investigate the dodgy market further, and to see whether Twitter was doing anything to stymie its growth, TechWeekEurope set up a new account last month. Meet “Samuel Beckett”, otherwise known as @NotSpamHonest. He’s been hard at work, breaking Twitter’s rules and bragging about it. Having already been barred once from the micro-blogging site, for sending malicious links to various members of the TechWeekEurope team who subsequently reported him for spam, Beckett decided to build up his follower base. Fake people love making fake friends, you know.
So, off he trotted around the Internet looking for some new pals and came across Followersale.com. It looked like a rather professional operation, with this promotional video promising the cheapest followers in the world: Video Clip
Faking it, with Class