Shares of Twitter continued to trade high despite the allegations of fake accounts and bots. As at Monday afternoon, they were as high as $25.48 even as New York Times pursued Devumi, an “obscure” American company, which is being accused of stealing real people’s identities. According to New York’s chief prosecutor, Eric Schneiderman, the firm sold millions of fake followers to social media users.
The fake accounts have been linked to a host of celebrities given that a majority of them have a huge following. However, Devumi has denied the claims, which were published in the New York Times as an in-depth report but Schneiderman says that they will open an investigation.
High follower accounts boost influence
Usually, a huge following on social media impacts has big advantages the likes of job offers and sponsorship deals. The report on New York Times outlined that those who wanted to increase their follower account could pay to be followed by the bots. The story also outlined how Devumi sold Twitter followers and retweets to anyone who wanted to exert online influence. Speculations have it that the company may have sold more than 200 million fake accounts.
Gaining useful exposure on social media is not an easy task and Devumi is said to have helped hundreds of businesses, celebrities, musicians, TED speakers, and models make a big impact on their audience. Some of the company’s clients include Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno. However, word has it that Devumi has at least 3.5 million automated accounts and it is suspected that it has been selling them repeatedly.
Twitter has been accused of not taking the problem seriously enough
Fake accounts are more often than not deployed by governments, criminals, and entrepreneurs. A majority of them have been linked to high profile spectrums. For example political commentator, Hilary Rosen is reported to have paid for over 500,000 Twitter followers while Martha Lane Fox’s Twitter account revealed a series of follower purchases spreading out to more than a year.
However, even with all these revelations, Twitter seems not to be moved. In fact, it has always claimed that bot investigations are incorrect and methodologically flawed. Nonetheless, it has said that it will stop working with Devumi and similar companies.