Social media platforms are breeding grounds for hate and disinformation. One of the biggest reasons for this is that fake accounts systematically and exponentially spread extremism, hate, and disinformation across multiple platforms.
Here’s how just one person can run dozens of fake, extremist accounts on many platforms.
This group of fake Twitter accounts follow each other and push the same fear-mongering conspiracy theories—many of which are anti-Semitic. Also, note that the person running the accounts likes to use images of barely clothed models (because “sex sells”).
The links in the Twitter accounts are to YouTube videos; and the YouTube channels belong to the same person running the Twitter accounts.
Like the Twitter accounts, the channels are connected by name, subscribers to the other channels, and they use the same videos and model images.
In a comment for this video, the person running the account mentions the Russian nerve agent “Novichok.”
Facebook and Other Social Media Platforms
The same person hosts accounts across other social media platforms as well, such as Facebook and Pinterest.
So, who is this person distributing hate and extremism across social media? On one of his multiple Blogger sites, the person claims to be a UK resident and computer guy.
It seems curious that a UK resident would spend so much time disseminating extremist theories about the USA as well as pro-Russian propaganda.
At a quick glance, these fake accounts seem like they would have minimal influence individually; but that conclusion is wrong and dangerous.
There are billions of fake accounts across social media platforms and many of them are created by ill-intended nation states, organizations, and individuals pushing extremist disinformation. Collectively, these accounts give the impression that those theories are popular.
And, if nothing else, humans tend to be attracted to what is popular.
Are those “trending hashtags” caused by real accounts?
Is that “influencer” really an influencer if you remove the fake followers and fake interactions?
Given the organized networks of fake accounts, it’s worth considering that much of what seems “popular” on social media platforms is merely a facade.
For information on how to spot a bot, see our Bot Tutorial.
Written by Virginia Murr
Read More of Our Commentary about Social Media:
States are Cracking Down on Companies that Sell Fake Social Media Accounts
PewDiePie and Amplification of White Supremacist Rhetoric on Twitter
Fake Social Media Accounts, Real World Impact
Why Political Bots are Effective but Commercial Bots are Not