The Mitt Romney became extremely popular on Twitter on the 20th of July. How? They began buying twitter followers. In fact, his account started adding followers at a rate of 25 per second.
Before the 20th of July, Romney’s typical average of 3,ooo-4,000 per day increased some twenty fold to over 62,000 in a single day, according to TwitterCounter.com. But the new followers are highly suspect. From “empty” accounts to pornbots, spambots, Justin Beiber-related accounts, Obama supporters and foreign accounts, the followers tell a puzzling tale, suggesting spam automation, purchased traffic or perhaps even sabotage.
How is this possible? Google ‘buy twitter followers’ and you will see. The sites which offer this service actually do deliver the followers. It will add thousands of fake accounts that it has created in a matter of days and in some cases, a matter of hours. If you look at the chart above, you will see this is exactly what happened.
Buying Facebook Likes while bragging about how many Facebook Likes you have – sad
The same thing happened at the same time. As you can see in the chart above, Mitt had seen a steady rise in the number of Facebook likes, then, magically on August 1st a spike. At the same time, Romney set the lofty goal of reaching 3 million Facebook likes. Propaganda for the digital age – purchased popularity.
Again, all you need to do is google “buy facebook followers” and you will see dozens of companies ready to help. In most cases, these services are used by companies in order to give them an initial ‘boost’ when first setting up a Facebook fan page for their business.
Facebook in the News for “Fake” Profiles
Facebook’s fake accounts problem has made the news in recent days. Given the fact that there are an estimated 83 million fake Facebook profiles (which can be used to deliver LIKES), I think it is a safe bet
83 million Facebook accounts are fakes and dupes (cnn.com – August 1, 2012)
So what are those 83 million undesired accounts doing? They’re a mixture of innocent and malicious, and Facebook has divvied them up into three categories: duplicate accounts, misclassified accounts and “undesirable” accounts.
Duplicate accounts make up 4.8% (45.8 million) of Facebook’s total active member tally. According to the network’s terms of service, users are not allowed to have more than one Facebook personal account or make accounts on behalf of other people.
Misclassified accounts are personal profiles that have been made for companies, groups or pets. Those types of profiles (22.9 million) are allowed on Facebook, but they need to be created as Pages. Facebook estimates that 2.4% of its active accounts are these non-human personal accounts.
The third group is the smallest — just 1.5% of all active accounts — but most troublesome. There are 14.3 million undesirable accounts that Facebook believes have been created specifically for purposes that violate the companies terms, like spamming.
Media Establishment Falling “Hook-Line-and-Sinker” for Social Media Manipulation
The “Twitter Political Index,” was launched last Wednesday by Twitter. It claims to track enthusiasm levels for President Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney based on an average of 2 million tweets a week that mention the candidates.
Similar to an approval rating from an opinion poll, the daily index runs from zero to 100: a 50 rating is neutral, anything above that is positive, below is negative. The Twitter index began appearing last Wednesday in the USA TODAY.
Four years ago it was Digg, now it is Facebook and Twitter. You would think that the press would wise up to its shortcomings, but it looks like it is falling for the same game. Just how accurate can any system be when you can purchase hundreds of thousands of accounts? I can’t be accurate – but USA TODAY doesn’t seem to mind. It gives them a colorful little info-graphic, and at the end of the day, that is all that matters.
Morals of the Story
The Mitt Romney campaign is exhibiting unprecedented social media dishonesty. Purchasing followers and Facebook likes is not only pathetic, but shows his willingness to deceive the public. Looks like he is willing to do and say just about anything to get into office.
And in the pursuit of viewers, the press is willing to do the same thing. When sensationalism replaces journalism, they are more than willing to look the other way when obvious manipulation is taking place.
Any better way to Start your Morning?