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Firm Selling Fake Twitter Followers To Be Probed

The NYT report said the company sells fake followers to Twitter users, sometimes using details based on real people

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A recent research found that between nine and 15 percent of active Twitter accounts are autonomous entities known as social bots. Pixabay
A recent research found that between nine and 15 percent of active Twitter accounts are autonomous entities known as social bots. Pixabay
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New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has announced a probe into digital marketing company called Devumi that is reportedly selling fake followers to Twitter users.

“Impersonation and deception are illegal under New York law. We’re opening an investigation into Devumi and its apparent sale of bots using stolen identities,” Schneiderman tweeted on Sunday.

He was reacting to a New York Times report that claimed Devumi is providing fake followers to social media users.

ALSO READ: Sale or No Sale: As Twitter tries to broaden its appeal to more people, Users are bound to see Changes

On its website, New York-based Devumi claims to “accelerate your social growth by helping you “quickly gain followers, viewers, likes and more” on Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and other online platforms “with its blend of marketing tactics”.

The NYT report said the company sells fake followers to Twitter users, sometimes using details based on real people.

“Devumi sells Twitter followers and retweets to celebrities, businesses and anyone who wants to appear more popular or exert influence online,” the report said.

To understand how Devumi works, the NYT itself set up a new Twitter account and spent $225 on 25,000 followers. Pixabay
To understand how Devumi works, the NYT itself set up a new Twitter account and spent $225 on 25,000 followers. Pixabay

“Drawing on an estimated stock of at least 3.5 million automated accounts, each sold many times over, the company has provided customers with more than 200 million Twitter followers,” the report claimed.

“As advertised, the first 10,000 or so looked like real people. They had pictures and full names, hometowns and often authentic-seeming biographies,” the report said.

ALSO READ: Twitter introduces fast and data-friendly ‘Twitter Lite’ in India with Vodafone as its first global launch partner

“The next 15,000 followers from Devumi were more obviously suspect: no profile pictures, and jumbles of letters, numbers and word fragments instead of names,” it added.

A recent research found that between nine and 15 percent of active Twitter accounts are autonomous entities known as social bots.

The micro-blogging site has over 300 million monthly active users and that would mean nearly 27 million to 45 million accounts are actually not controlled by humans, according to the study from Indiana University and the University of Southern California in the US. (IANS)

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Apple to shut its last Watch-exclusive store in May

Apple's shipments in the fourth quarter of 2017 grew by more than 32 percent over the fourth quarter of 2016 to eight million

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Apple Watch Nike+ smartwatch. Flickr

Apple will shut down its last of the three Apple Watch-exclusive stores — located in Tokyo — it built when it launched the wearable in 2015.

On May 13, the last Apple Watch-exclusive store will close its doors. Twitter user Shotaro Akiba has shared a photo on the microblogging platform showing the department store’s announcement, Engadget reported on Sunday.

vero, instagram
Many apps pulled out of the watchOS. VOA

Apple had shut down the other two stores in London and Paris last year. According to 9to5mac website, the shop held a sale in which it was selling the remaining Apple Watch Edition inventory for as little as $700.

These 18-karat gold watches were sold for at least $10,000 and as much as $17,000 when they first became available, the report said.

Earlier this month, high-profile applications, including Instagram, Amazon, Google Maps and Twitter, pulled out their apps from the WatchOS. Driven by Apple Watch Series 3 shipments, the Cupertino-headquartered giant shipped a record 18 million Watch devices in 2017 — an increase of 54 per cent compared to the previous year.

Also Read: Apple working on gold variant of iPhone X: Report

“The Series 3 was the key growth driver, as total shipments of the latest version of Apple’s Watch were just under nine million, making up nearly half of all shipments in 2017,” Singapore-based market research firm Canalys said.

Apple’s shipments in the fourth quarter of 2017 grew by more than 32 percent over the fourth quarter of 2016 to eight million — the highest-ever number of shipments in a single quarter for any wearable vendor. IANS

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