Follow the Green: Growth and Dynamics in Twitter Follower Markets
Ben Y. Zhao
Proc. of the 13th ACM SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Conference (IMC)
[Full Text in PDF Format, 1.29MB]
The users of microblogging services, such as Twitter, use the count of
followers of an account as a measure of its reputation or influence.
For those unwilling or unable to attract followers naturally, a growing
industry of "Twitter follower markets" provides followers for sale.
Some markets use fake accounts to boost the follower count of their
customers, while others rely on a pyramid scheme to turn non-paying
customers into followers for each other, and into followers for paying
customers. In this paper, we present a detailed study of Twitter
follower markets, report in detail on both the static and dynamic
properties of customers of these markets, and develop and evaluate
multiple techniques for detecting these activities. We show that our
detection system is robust and reliable, and can detect a significant
number of customers in the wild.