A UK-based firm has unveiled a new software tool that can identify fake Twitter accounts, especially those that carry a pretension of being "followers" of celebrities, politicians and other personalities.
Though news of a thousand Twitter followers being made available online for a sum as low as $five was doing the rounds for quite sometime, the new development highlights how the fake Twitter accounts are employed to promote the profiles of celebrities.
Status People is the firm that designed a software tool to identify followers as fake, inactive and good, the Guardian has reported. Apparently, the company decided to create the tool after reports of former Tory MP Louise Mensch had 40,000 fake followers surfaced.
Speaking on the fake accounts, Status People company executive Rob Waller told the Guardian, "A fake account is set up to follow people or send out spam. They normally have no followers, but follow large numbers of people. An inactive account is one in which there has been no activity for a while. They could be real people, but we would describe them as consumers of information rather than sharers of information. A good account is everything that remains."
The tool is said to analyze an account's 100,000 most recent followers, but Waller said they hoped to improve its accuracy.
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Several websites actively sell fake Twitter accounts including BuyTwitterFollow.com, FanMeNow.com, and InterTwitter.com, Socialbarrel has reported.
Almost every Twitter account has a percentage of fake followers as, unlike on Facebook, anyone can follow a Twitter account - from a genuine friend to a computer-generated account, according to the Guardian.
Te New York Times noted that it would be possible to buy 220,000 followers for £260.