Social Networking: July 2009 Archives

Fake Retweets aren't particularly new, but you might not have seen them before. In a nutshell, there is nothing stopping you on Twitter from placing "RT" at the start of a message then putting in whatever user you feel like after it. For example, if someone wanted to make it look like I was on a drunken insult rampage:

paperstinky1.gif

Of course, I never said that - and for a follower of mine to see this message, they'd have to be actively looking for "@paperghost" messages in the search feature so the chances of being horribly offended are slight. However, we can step it up a notch (with the permission of Rik Ferguson who agreed to let me use him for this next bout of fakery):

stinkyghost2.gif

...whoops. If I'm not someone who bothers to check the authenticity of a Twitter message, then I'm now chasing Rik Ferguson with a baseball bat under the misguided notion that he's smacktalking my mother (actually, he's taller than me so I'll probably just settle for pulling angry faces at the screen).

With that in mind, I saw this pop up in my Twitter feed earlier today:

fakeghostrt1.gif

...as you probably guessed, I didn't say that. Neither did any of these people:

fakertsspamz.gif
Click to Enlarge

What's the idea? Well, take a look at the links in the above screenshot. The profile is designed to lure Twitter users in with fake retweets (either the person being "retweeted" themselves, or users who follow mentions of that individual and are curious what they're supposedly talking about) and then hope they click one of the many spam / promotion links.

The fake retweets are quite crude, but with a little tweaking they could perhaps make the fake retweets more controversial or include a URL link with the fake message which would probably increase the clickthrough rate.

Remember - if something looks a little odd about a message sent out on Twitter from a contact, check with them that it's the real deal first...

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Social Networking category from July 2009.

Social Networking: June 2009 is the previous archive.

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