This is a great article explaining some of what is going on in social media, but understand if they (ie Twitter, Facebook) really wanted to they could stop all of this instantly. But it would cut the numbers they use by more than half! This is what happens when you live a lie…
When Hilary Mason, a data scientist and entrepreneur, discovered that dozens of automated “bot” accounts had sprung up to impersonate her on Twitter, she immediately set out to stop them.
She filed dozens of complaints with Twitter, repeatedly submitting copies of her driver’s license to prove her identity. She reached out to friends who worked at the company. But days later, many of the fake accounts remained active, even though virtually identical ones had been shut down.
Millions of accounts impersonating real people roam social media platforms, promoting commercial products and celebrities, attacking political candidates and sowing discord. They spread fake images and misinformation about the school shooting last week in Parkland, Fla. They were central to Russian attempts to sway the 2016 presidential election in favor of Donald J. Trump, according to a federal grand jury indictment on Friday. And American intelligence officials believe they will figure in Russian efforts to shape the coming midterm elections, too.
Yet social media companies often fail to vigorously enforce their own policies against impersonation, an examination by The New York Times found, enabling the spread of fake news and propaganda — and allowing a global black market in social identities to thrive on their platforms.
Facebook and Twitter require proof of identity to shut down an impostor account but none to set one up. And even as social media accounts evolve into something akin to virtual passports — for shopping, political activity and even gaining access to government services — technology companies have devised their own rules and standards, with little oversight or regulation from Washington.
“These companies have, in a lot of ways, assigned themselves to be validators of your identity,” said Jillian York, an official at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which advocates digital privacy protections. “But the vast majority of users have no access to any due process, no access to any kind of customer service — and no means of appealing any kind of decision.”
Millions of “bots” posing as real users are promoting celebrities, spreading misinformation and sowing discord. And it’s far easier to build a bot than to kill one.