MIT Technology Review recently published an interesting article about the influence of fake accounts on social media. Estimates are that one in 20 active accounts on Twitter are fakes, while Facebook’s equivalent is around one in 100 active users. These false accounts can have a big impact on messages received through social media. For example, in 2010, a conservative group in Iowa used automated accounts to send messages supporting Republican candidate Scott Brown’s attempt to win a Massachusetts seat in the U.S. Senate. Because of retweets by real users, the messages reached an audience of 60,000. While it is unclear how much, if any, influence the message had, Brown did win the election. The article discusses how this is not just a problem in the U.S., and provides recent examples from Mexico and China.
You can read the complete article here.