New York AG Investigating the Sale of Fake Followers

Following an expansive report published by the New York Times about a company that offers falke followers to people using social media networks, Eric Schneiderman, the Attorney General for the five boroughs, announced that he has opened an investigation into Devumi, the company named in the article.

In the ever-increasing industry of online services of all types, including the kind of online betting NZ and the rest of the world is able to offer, responsible usage is vital, but remains a somewhat grey area.

Automated Bots and Accounts Highlighted 

The use of automated accounts and bots on sites like Twitter and Facebook have recently been brought to the forefront of technology news recently as a number of these social media sites confirmed that these tools were employed during the Presidential election and after bots got used for public commenting periods online and other events.

Schneiderman revealed that his office was looking into comments left by fake social media accounts that had been made by false accounts on the Federal Communications Commission, FCC, website, that were impersonating real people during the open comments process for Net Neutrality last November.

NY Law Says You Can’t Impersonate or Deceive

Schneiderman took to Twitter to remind us that deception and impersonation is unlawful in New York, and added that the regularity and frequency with which bots were being used was causing the sound of real voices in public conversations to be drowned out. Despite stringent Internet security measures these bots were still finding their way around and making themselves heard.

Devumi Has Friends for Sale 

The Times report profiled Devumi, a social media company which claims it can increase your social media presence on LinkedIn, Pinterest, Vimeo, Soundcloud, YouTube, or Twitter. The reports stated that the company had fake followers for sale to people using Twitter, and that they made use of details that are based on actual people, including persons under the age of full legal responsibility.

The Times said that Devumi and companies like it are providing their customers with over 200 million followers on Twitter, and that at least 55 000 of these make use of the hometowns, names, profile pictures, and other personal data of actual users.

An Examination of the Company’s Customers 

The New York Times report further examined the customers making use of the company’s services, with the list including actors, politicians, influencers, and athletes who are looking to increase the footprint they make with their social media accounts with automated bots that like their posts and retweet them. Even those interested in promoting online causes or even spreading awareness about financial options like Bitcoin were using bots.

The Times report stated that although there are quite a few companies in operation that offer fake followers to those of us who are willing to pay for them, these take advantage of the kinds of platforms that make creating false accounts easier. Twitter does not require an actual identity in order for an account to be created, and while the company has said that it works hard at eliminating accounts that post spam, former employees have stated that they are not, in fact, paying much attention to the issue at all.

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