As Twitter continues to take off and people catch on to its potential to direct traffic online, we’re seeing more and more fake accounts building up on the network.
Whilst extreme social networkers like Scobleizer, Leo La Porte and Kevin Rose have 20,000+ followers hanging on their tweets, other people are resorting to more grey hat tactics to hijack our attention – impersonating well known personalities in order to build up a following.
Some high profile fake Twitter accounts
Some of these accounts are old and disused, but others are very active and have big followings behind them. Like most things on Twitter, setting up an account is trivial. There’s no means of verification at the point of sign-up and the service is dependent on its users for exposing the charlatans.
Probably the most libellous and overtly dishonest Twitter account that I’m aware of.
Seth Godin has publicly stated on his blog that he doesn’t use Twitter, yet this guy just keeps plugging away. I came across the subject of fake Twitter accounts, or “twitterjacking”, because of a post from fake Seth pointing me to (actually quite a cool) new site I subsequently blogged about – http://www.brandtags.net.
The guy behind Brand Tags, Noah Brier reported 77,000 tags added to his new site over one weekend after a Friday launch. No doubt “Seth Godin” played quite a big role in the healthy launch traffic, what with having over 5000 followers and a weighty reputation behind him.
Pure spam. Couldn’t be further from the M.O. of the genuine guy.
Its interesting that Zuckerberg seems to be genuinely on Twitter… I say this because his updates are protected (private) and he only follows one guy – a PR/social media blogger by the name of Dave Ambrose. Whats notable is that Zuck has 21000 + updates – seemingly just to this one guy.
I’m not sure if this is some kind of in-joke between Ambrose and another contact, or if MZ has some kind of special relationship with Dave Ambrose that he likes to maintain privately on Twitter. Seems unlikely but worth watching nonetheless. Ambrose does seem to post quite a bit about Facebook on his Tumblog.
Less open parody and more outright impersonation than the Fake Steve Jobs (despite the lego avatar). The account is pretty much dormant, despite having over 6,500 followers.
This account is pretty much open parody in the vein of Fake Steve Jobs.
Says things like: ” Red alert, bitches! That John Edwards twitter account is sooooo fake.” (sadly it’s not – might’ve been more entertaining)
Jon C Dvorak
The famous mac linkbaiter has someone pretending to be him.
http://twitter.com/therealdvorak – the lowercase one is fake.
This one is the real REAL Dvorak:
The person who runs this account mostly just tweets quotes from Rollins’ books. I’m not sure why any sane person would want to impersonate the ex Black Flag front man, especially considering the ramifications if he ever finds you. Ouch.
The internet barely worked in Zim before the elections, so I don’t think anybody would expect this to be the real Muggins. Says things like: “Thinking of shutting the electricity down for laughs”.
Last update: 8 days ago
1943 Followers, last update 18 days ago
This one was inevitable I suppose.
382 followers, last update 1 month ago
A lot of these Paris Hilton types have fake profiles on Twitter, mostly just as link bate for trashy celeb sites.
The dark lord is doing very well for himself in the micro blogging space with 8078 followers
Last update 1 month ago.
Older fake Twitter accounts, barely active…
- http://twitter.com/DavidLetterman – 1247 followers, last tweet 10 months ago
- http://twitter.com/billgates – 773 followers, last update 7 months ago
- http://twitter.com/dickcheney – 54 followers, last update 8 months ago
Says things like: “Won a baboon on eBay. Condition as-is, but I’m going to use the little guy for parts anyway. Never know when the ticker might blow a valve.”
- http://twitter.com/chavez – last update 2 months ago, 359 followers
Anybody know of any other fake Twitter accounts worth outing? If you’re ever suspicious or unsure about a profile, its always worth checking it out on Summize to see what other users are saying.
I suppose the trend to jump the follower queue based on the clout of an appropriated reputation will continue for the forseeable future. Its a little easier to get away with considering the cheap, quick and superficial nature of Twitter usage.
I wonder if we are going to see the Twitter equivalent of the Facebook fan page, with popular personalities having the accounts managed by their pr companies. I guess this is already happening at the political level and Barack Obama is a good example of this, although it should be said that his updates to have a genuine tone to them.
If Twitter can sort out its architectural issues and continue to scale the twitterjacking phenomenon going to be one to watch. I don’t think it will go away in the immediate future, its just going to get a bit more sophisticated.
Filed under: Social Media on May 18th, 2008