BuzzFeed News: People Are Renting Out Their Facebook Accounts In Exchange For Cash And Free Laptops. “The rental economy for Facebook accounts is yet another example of how people attempt to exploit the platform’s ad system in order to avoid bans and conceal who is really behind a campaign. With a rented account, a person can create a new page and quickly begin running ads. And even if Facebook eventually blocks those ads and bans the account, an ad launderer can move to another rented account and start over — without Facebook or anyone else knowing who they are.” This is not new, unfortunately. I wrote about a weird Craigslist ad almost three years ago.
Mashable: Elaborate Instagram scam bilks influencers after luring them to Jakarta. “A scam is making the rounds in the Instagram influencer and photography community, and it’s so elaborate that you can understand why people fell for it. Someone purporting to be Wendi Deng Murdoch, the former wife of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, is fleecing thousands of dollars from hundreds of unsuspecting Instagram influencers and photographers.”
CNET: Facebook employees appear to have left 5-star Amazon reviews for Portal. “Facebook’s Portal has a pretty high rating on Amazon, with just over 4 stars. But some Facebook employees may not have gotten the memo that they’re not allowed to help boost that rating. New York Times columnist Kevin Roose tweeted Wednesday that several 5-star reviews for Portal, a video chat device, were posted by people with the same name as Facebook employees.”
New York Times: Democrats Faked Online Push to Outlaw Alcohol in Alabama Race. “The ‘Dry Alabama’ Facebook page, illustrated with stark images of car wrecks and videos of families ruined by drink, had a blunt message: Alcohol is the devil’s work, and the state should ban it entirely…. In fact, the Dry Alabama campaign, not previously reported, was the stealth creation of progressive Democrats who were out to defeat Mr. Moore — the second such secret effort to be unmasked.”
The Atlantic: When a Sponsored Facebook Post Doesn’t Pay Off. “After rising to MySpace fame in the mid-aughts, the singer-songwriter Kaila Yu amassed a following of nearly half a million fans on Facebook and 70,000 on Twitter and Instagram. Like all ‘influencers’—people who leverage a social-media following to influence others—Yu now makes her living monetizing her audience with branded content, promoting products and events through sponsored posts.”
Intelligencer: How Much of the Internet Is Fake? Turns Out, a Lot of It, Actually.. “How much of the internet is fake? Studies generally suggest that, year after year, less than 60 percent of web traffic is human; some years, according to some researchers, a healthy majority of it is bot. For a period of time in 2013, the Times reported this year, a full half of YouTube traffic was ‘bots masquerading as people,’ a portion so high that employees feared an inflection point after which YouTube’s systems for detecting fraudulent traffic would begin to regard bot traffic as real and human traffic as fake. They called this hypothetical event ‘the Inversion.'”
Wired: The Year of the Scammer: It’s Not Just Con Artists Anymore. “In one configuration (Charles Ponzi) or another (online phishing emails from so-called Nigerian officials), getting over on other people has endured since the earliest days of the American experiment. Its pop imprint, though—as a label, a lifestyle, a celebrated art—didn’t take shape until recently. Meme-propagating social media platforms were crucial in transmuting scamming from crime to entertainment genre: made-for-Instagram personas like Joanne the Scammer popularized and romanticized such cunning acts of deception on Instagram and Twitter.”