Twitter is magnet for fakes, fraudsters and celebs

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Twitter is magnet for fakes, fraudsters and celebs

Ian Grant

You probably always suspected it, but online security experts at Barracuda Labs have confirmed that Twitter is overrun with fakers and fraudsters.

The lab's latest report on Twitter trends and tracking, web threats and trends, and e-mail spam and viruses, reveals that just 21% of people on the social networking site are genuine.

The lab analysed more than 19 million Twitter accounts, both legitimate and malicious, for frequency and content of tweets, user-to-user interaction, and each account's overall activity level. It found only one in five has at least 10 friends and follows at least 10 and has tweeted at least 10 times.

The lab confirmed that Twitter is the playground of celebrities. Some 48 of the top 100 most followed Twitter users joined to boost their career and get closer to fans, which make up 49% of Twitter users, it said.

More worryingly, between November 2008 and April 2009 - what the lab calls the Twitter Red Carpet era - two-thirds of the accounts created each month were eventually suspended for malicious or suspicious activity, or otherwise misused, it said.

Growth in the number of accounts peaked at 22% in April 2009, it said.


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