When was the last time you checked your Twitter following? I am embarrassed to say that the last time I analyzed my following was early last summer. During the interim, a slew of 79 cunning and crafty Twitter bots scooted up my profile skirt.
Though these grubby little parasites did not add or detract from my social presence — they managed to piggyback my profile and litter my follower eye-candy with affiliate “get more twitter followers,” porn bots, phishing bots, scam bots, tattoo bots, marketing bots, muscle bots, egghead bots, fat-reducing bots, and Twitter bots that looked like they were botched from the get-go.
Yesterday I wrote a blog over at Itsecurity.co.uk: Twitter Bots: the scourge of the low-end spam bots, where I stated that there is still a copious scourge of nettlesome low-end bots that slide under the radar on Twitter.
Though Twitter goes to great lengths to thwart fake bot accounts, spam bots are pervasive throughout the Twitter ecosystem. Whether it is a 6,000+ real and verified twitter followers (yeah, right!) for $5.00 over at Fiverr or a flat 6 month $49.99 subscription at Twitter Supremacy — bots come in all flavors — You can buy a set amount of fake followers, become an affiliate, subscribe to an anonymous automation service, or purchase some clever little bot tutorials down at the Evo marketplace (in the Darknet).
Since early 2009, I’ve had a hash with low-end Twitter bots. They are annoying. They offer zero value, tweet spam links, echo scripted-snippets (just to keep their profiles active), and blatantly break Twitter’s terms of service and rules.
Twitter provides useful advice for reporting spam and violations. Though blocking a Twitter bot is a quick & dirty (and can be done within a matter of seconds) — actually reporting these accounts may be more effective.
Bot or Not?
After reading The Rise of Social Bots (recently revised on Feb 1, 2015), a paper that definitely raises awareness on social bots — I checked out their Twitter bot detection tool: Bot or Not? I was surprised that I did not score in the green area at first, (where I expected I should be). Instead, my score was closer to 59 percent (in the yellow area).
Fake Follower Check
Rather then attempt to scroll through 5K+ followers to try and spot the little buggers — I opted instead, to take a stroll over to StatusPeople and sign up for a monthly subscription to their service. Using their Fake Follower Check tool, I found out that 7 percent of my followers were fake accounts. So I wondered, if I remove all of my fake followers via their service — would I finally get a green light over at Bot or Not?
I am happy to report that after the removal of my fake followers at StatusPeople — I’m in the green with Bot or Not! In case you are wondering — I am not completely anti-bot! I do like useful bots.
Do spam bots annoy you? Neutral? You have not seen any?
Do tell! Just leave a comment here.