Twitter is a large breeding ground for spam, and according to new research from the ICSI (International Computer Science Institute), scammers earned $127,000 to $459,000 total over a 10 month period.
The study took place June 2012 to April 2013, and closely followed 27 different merchants. These merchants accounted for around 10 to 20 percent of all fake or spam Twitter accounts.
Researchers were able to monitor several million fake accounts across these merchants, and 95 percent were removed after being reported.
With the express permission of Twitter, we conducted a longitudinal study of these merchants and purchased a total of 121,027 fraudulent Twitter accounts on a bi-weekly basis over ten months from June, 2012 – April, 2013. Throughout this process, we tracked account prices, availability, and fraud in the marketplace. Our ﬁndings show that merchants thoroughly understand Twitter’s existing defenses against automated registration, and as a result can generate thousands of accounts with little disruption in availability or instability in pricing.
With the ICSI working directly with Twitter, they hope to help the social network create better defenses against such spam.
These findings were rather surprising, and goes to show just how profitable the spam business can be despite serious efforts to shut it down.
Unfortunately, buying Twitter accounts is an easy way to waste your money, and you’re only ever benefiting the scammers.