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Jason Ding: "The Blooming Social Media Economics Built on "Fake" Identities" (BSides Las Vegas 2012) (Hacking Illustrated Series InfoSec Tutorial Videos)

Jason Ding: "The Blooming Social Media Economics Built on "Fake" Identities"

Social media has become a strong point of economic growth in all over the global. We are interested in studying the unethical or even illegal business that are built around several social networking platforms. Several case studies will show that such business models are very effective to generate enough revenue for sustainable growth. Our first study case is thousands of fake accounts built on Facebook that are tried to promote a group of websites selling fake Nike shoes while claiming authentic. More data statistics show that these fake accounts have gradually evolved to make them harder to detect, even with matured machine learning algorithms.

Our second study is another group of users and pages on Facebook which promoted a simple meaningless game while gaining audiences and impressions for further advertising or spamming. This game strategy is more robust and carefully designed than traditional spamming trick, where no terms or rules has been broken yet. A potential use of this may be for legal marketing strategy. Our third study is the business of buying Twitter followers and sending tweets to large audience. Various followers buying and tweets sending services can be easily found through Google and eBay. We had a real case of using their service and monitored the following statistics. Results show that these services can quickly earn lots of cash before Twitter can find these fake followers. Meanwhile, we found many famous Twitter users use their services as well. Compared to the first spam case on Pinterest, Twitter following services can make equally or more profits, and sustainably.

Finally, as we reveal the economic benefits out of the "fake" social identity business, warnings are given to audience that either we all start making our "fake" business like them(kidding!), or we will be drowned among these meaningless social activities, if we do not take actions to stop them.


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