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Fake Twitter Accounts a Serious Reality

San Francisco, California–It’s no secret there are many politicians, celebrities, and athletes with fake Twitter accounts “following” them to increase their clout.

However, now that it’s a publicly traded company, the hundreds of thousands of fictitious accounts are the subject of much discussion–among companies putting real marketing dollars to work through the social channel.

The problem is large enough that Twitter applied a filter last spring which effectively blocked 95 percent of phony accounts, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Fake Twitter Accounts a Real Problem

Two names have come to personify such spurious “users” in the latest news: Jim Vidmar and rapper Dave Murrell or Fyrare as the entertainer is known to his fans. Mr. Vidmar operates from the Las Vegas Strip, where he purchased one thousand fabricated accounts from someone in Pakistan on the rapper’s behalf for the bargain basement price of just $58 last month.

The social site is well aware of the problem and states in its Terms of Use that “mass account creation” is strictly prohibited. However, as the fakers fully known, the microblog, unlike Facebook and Google+, don’t verify users. Instead, it relies on robots to fight robots, “We have a variety of automated and manual controls in place to detect, flag, and suspend accounts created solely for spam purposes,” a company spokesperson stated.

An Ongoing Cyber Battle

Just because the social network doesn’t outright verify identities of new users, it has worked to combat mass invented accounts. During 2012 and 2013, for ten months, the site applied new filters to detect and delete faked accounts. Even Mr. Vidmar, well-versed in the trade of phony users, found his creations being ferreted out.

In response the black market quickly adapted, finding the filters flagged accounts with no pictures, incomplete profiles, and little to no activity. The social network continues to do battle with an unseen enemy to protect what now is a public brawl.

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