The Proliferation Of “Fake” On Social Media

Last week I read a blog post by Randy Hilarski titled Fake Followers an Epidemic of Narcissistic Proportions. In that post he talked about the rise of fake Instagram accounts that follow all of us, using the avatars of very pretty women. It’s pretty easy to tell these accounts are fake because… well, let’s face the fact that suddenly having a stunning woman with a foreign name following you is pretty suspect. If you need to you can click on the name and notice there’s only a few images along with a fake link to follow if you want more… trust me, never click on those links.

Chris Akans wearing Czech Gas Mask
Dan Klimke via Compfight

Randy’s comment was on the people who see these fake accounts, are shooting for higher follower accounts, accept them, probably add them back and try to get more. The narcissism part of it all is the chase for numbers, quality or not, because in some minds numbers equate to some kind of status.

I’m going to address that part first; he’s absolutely correct. I mean, we look at a blog’s ranking. We look at how many Twitter followers a person has. We look to see how many people are connected to us on LinkedIn and Google Plus. Instagram; pshaw! lol It’s not total narcissism because, for some people, the more connections they have the better the possibility of making money, even big money.

Yet, there are a lot of people who fall for “fake”.

I can’t tell you how many blogs I visit where there are tons of spam comments that sometimes the blog owner has responded to without recognizing them, or totally ignored because maybe they never respond to comments and are happy for whatever activity they’re getting.

I can’t tell you how many people I see on Twitter that have tens of thousands of people following them, and when you look at some of the accounts following you see a lot of bots and accounts with that stupid egg thing.

Sometimes I look at my numbers and think “man, I wish I could figure out how to make that bigger”. However, it’s usually a fleeting thought. Y’all know by now that I’m an engager; if there’s no possibility that we’ll ever talk I rarely stick with you for long. On Twitter, if the first time someone wants to talk to me is via a direct message rather than in the open, I’m probably unfollowing unless I have a special reason to stay connected… but it’s rare.

A few nights ago I happened to have Tweetdeck open; that’s what I use to connect on Twitter. I heard an alert, so I went to check it out. It turned out that someone had liked a post I’d shared there a couple of days earlier. Then, over the next 20 minutes or so there were 34 more people who liked the same exact post.

Whereas most people might have been flattered, I’m a bit more skeptical than that. If I had more than 100K people following me and it happened, I might have just passed it off. However, I decided to take a better look for my own edification.

2014-08-01 Castlefest 2014, Cherilyn
Qsimple, Memories For The
Future Photography
via Compfight
she doesn’t want to know you…

What I noticed is that every single account that liked that article had a cartoon avatar. There wasn’t a single real person’s image on any of them. Also, none of them were connected with me, including the first person. When I checked a few of those accounts I noticed they were following way more people than they had following them. That’s usually a major sign that an account is either fake, or at the least a bit dodgy.

In this case, the idea of narcissism comes back into play, trying to make people feel good and hoping they’ll follow the account back to the profile. You can bet each of them has a link that will take you to either some kind of sales site or spam/malware site. Since I was only looking at a couple of accounts to verify my thoughts, I wasn’t inclined to click on a link to see what it would take me. Truthfully, I’d have had to slap myself silly if I did. 🙂

Although it happens in greater numbers on Twitter and Instagram, there are lots of fake accounts that try to hook up with us on Facebook, Google Plus and even LinkedIn. Many times they don’t have an avatar. Sometimes you’ll notice the account was recently created. Facebook gets sneakier because sometimes it’s the name of someone you’re already connected to, and you wonder if that person killed their account and came back if it’s someone you haven’t connected with in a while.

I’m not going to denigrate anyone who wants big numbers. Even though it’s not always all it seems to be cracked up to me, if it’s legitimate it can look pretty impressive.

I’m just putting out the warning to watch out for fake accounts, block or report them, and don’t click on links from anyone you don’t know (and sometimes from people you know whose post seems out of character). Be wise and be smart; that’s all I’m asking. 🙂
 

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12 comments on “The Proliferation Of “Fake” On Social Media

  • Hi Mitch,

    Have to say a big thankyou and a big welcome to my blog.. and I love your blog.

    I love those rules actually on the base of this post. It is amazing hoe people are automating everything and they thiuk that is going to build relaitonships…..

    I was interested to see your comment above on twitter. I have also had that happen and all the people had weid faces as their faces.. I mean… WT!!!!!

    I love the internet but it does show up how many wierdos there are , when nomally they hide away They think they can hide…. too funny

    Thanks Mitch once again

    Di

    Reply
    • Hi Di, good to see you here. As much as I love being on social media, the two things that ruin it are the fakes and the scammers. Heck, I don’t even mind the advertising as much… wait, did I just open myself up to more ads coming my way? lol In any case I love engagement, which is why Twitter is my favorite platform. It just needs more engagement with “real” people; I don’t think I’m wrong there. 🙂

      Reply
  • Hey Mitch,

    Okay, I get it now. Not a good experience I can only imagine. Since I’m not on Instagram I can’t say but I get a LOT of people or accounts following me and some of them I end up blocking.

    I get a lot of companies and then of course the infamous egghead so if you were to look at the number of followers I have, don’t be impressed by those. I’m sure this isn’t very nice to say but I bet more than half if not more are junk and they could care less about what I share for those that are real. I’ve never understood the meaning behind those people who just follow for the heck of it.

    Now the activity for the likes that we were talking about over on Twitter, I haven’t seen that kind of increase like you have. I will tell you though that on Facebook a couple weeks ago I got four invitations to friend someone I was already friends with so of course I emailed them to ask if they were creating a new account and someone was trying to copy their accounts. More fake people coming online trying to make them legit so I’m scratching my head right along with you.

    Urggggg, so frustrating at times. The fakeness is definitely out of hand that’s for sure.

    Glad you and Randy wrote about this but I know it won’t stop them. At least people just need to be more aware.

    ~Adrienne

    Reply
    • Glad you saw this Adrienne, especially since I was talking to you on Twitter as if you had. lol

      Today I had 7 or 8 fake accounts try to connect with me on Twitter; you know, the ones that talk about getting thousands of Twitter followers. I often wonder if the people who end up connecting with those accounts are people at all; maybe it’s just bots loving bots! No matter; I don’t connect with them, and like you, I not only block a lot of them but I report them as spam. Maybe Twitter will get a better handle on it all one of these days.

      Reply
  • Purushottam Thakur says:

    Fake accounts are among the most common enterprise social media security challenges. Threat actors create fake accounts that masquerade as your brand or employee to sell bogus product, distribute malware, broadcast false information, steal account credentials, or simply embarrass the brand.

    Reply
  • Prabhat Jani says:

    Well, interesting post.

    Sometimes I feel wired about those fake account.

    Why they use the fake account? And the important thing is that we already know about his/her fake ac.

    Great post sir.

    Reply

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