A company in New York has been accused of selling followers and retweets on Twitter to people, including celebrities and politicians.
The New York Times (NYT) came out over the weekend with an article titled “The Follower Factory” that talked about the alleged shady transaction by Devumi.
Following the NYT report, New York State Chief Prosecutor Eric Schneiderman said they are going to investigate Devumi for allegedly selling millions of fake followers from impersonated accounts.
Schneiderman said: “Impersonation and deception are illegal under New York law.”
Also, Paul Hollywood has deleted his account on the micro-blogging site after being asked about “fake” followers.
Devumi founder German Calas, however, denied that his company sold fake followers, adding that he knows nothing about social identities stolen from real users.
The NYT evaluated business and court records revealing that Devumi has more than 200,000 customers, including reality TV stars, professional athletes, comedians, TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) speakers, pastors, and models.
Reaction from Twitter
In reaction to the report, Mashable reported that Twitter has said that it invests in fighting so-called “bots” like false or spam accounts but the platform “doesn’t always suspend users that are purchasing fake engagement to spread their messages or just tout their reach.”
A Twitter spokesperson told the NYT that their hesitance to suspend accounts because of those acts “is, in part, a result of the company’s inability to detect who is responsible.”
The spokesperson, however, said the platform takes suspending an account from the “very seriously” as the company wants to fight spam on the site.
A New York Times special report has revealed that celebrities purchase fake followers on Twitter.
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