It's laughably simple to buy thousands of cheap, plausible Facebook identities


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/05/17/abundant-low-quality.html


#2

An interesting investment idea, build lots of fake FB accounts with the full knowledge that you can later sell them, and the more content you put on them (over a longer period) makes them more valuable because they are “more real.”


#3

It’s laughably simple to buy thousands of cheap, plausible Facebook identities

Also laughable: That the Zuck isn’t in jail for knowingly aiding the throwing over our general election in 2016.

I’m laughing right now!

#deletefacebook


#4

The real name policy on FB isn’t very strictly enforced, so this really shouldn’t be a surprise.


#5

Yea, but each one would take a few hours’ work, to be any good. At 13 clams, it’s not worth the effort.


#6

  


#7

Twitter is a hate machine. But it’s not just because accounts are anonymous, it’s because the accounts are anonymous, posting costs nothing, and the conversation is essentially unmoderated. All three factors combine to make an Internet cesspit.

BoingBoing learnt this lesson long ago, the hard way as I recall.


#8

How else are stock people photos going to get jobs?


#9

I did this years ago as an experiment. My character was Mongolian and wasn’t hard to amass the maximum “friends” - took 2-3 days I believe. Facebook had a control, probably still does, to limit the number of friend requests sent in a certain span of time. The penalty was short periods of suspension. After establishing my character in Mongolia I had them migrate to an American college and replaced all the Mongolians with Americans. Then deleted the account. Along with a political weaponization, these fake accounts can be used by brands for marketing or research, or by predators on social dating sites that require a “real life” Facebook account to register.


#10

There we go, much better.


#11

The number of fake accounts on Facebook is ridiculous, and deeply calls into question all the monthly active user metrics that Facebook likes to boast about. Counting just the fake accounts that Facebook found, they deleted half a billion of them in the first quarter of this year:

Figure they’re finding only one in three fake accounts (reasonable since they’re using robots to find them and the fake accounts are being manufactured by humans so they look real), means there have to be something like a billion undeleted fake accounts, nearly half their total active userbase.


#12

I have an account that I use just for ‘social login’–fictional name, no content, no connections, attached to otherwise unused gmail account. FB has never questioned it.


#13


#14

Another shitty aspect of the real names policy is that it presents the illusion of people being realer than in other online settings. Social media is great for what it is, which is not trustworthy masses made of unique opinion-havers. It’s not a problem that there are massive amounts of fake accounts, sock-puppets and the like (I mean, yea, do what you can) the problem arises when we are lulled into thinking it’s not, and start trusting it’s mobs.


#15

Well put!

I feel like it’s a huge problem when governments, mass media or political operatives equate “telling lies on social media” with “hacking an election” and people feverishly repeat and support the meme.

That message is pretty clearly intended to create popular support for censorship of emergent media by politicians. It’s not subtle.

I like your message better - it seems to me that you’re saying social media is not a fount of truth and wisdom, therefore building your political opinions from such a source is probably stupid and potentially self-destructive.


#16

Don’t forget the Brexit vote in the UK. Why do you think he doesn’t want to come over here?


#17

The real name policy was always about improving data quality for advertisers. I think it’s pretty obvious that the well being of Facebook’s users is regarded as harmful to the business.


#18

Right. It’s hacking something (the collective half-consciousness?), but not the election. I happened to be browsing my server logs at work the other day and at least half our traffic is Russian script-kiddies just tacking the likely directories of known-to-be-vulnerable wordpress plugins onto urls. We block IP addresses where we can, but we still report those numbers to our funders as unique visitors :slight_smile:

We’ve all grown accustomed to adjusting for inflation when seeing dollar amounts for historical costs. We need a meme (in the general sense) similar to that reaction when reading about social media support for ideas.

To me, all this points to the need for a Renaissance of responsible journalism, hopefully of the model of Propublica, but I won’t hold my breath.


#19

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