Is This Twitter Account Fake? Here Are The Features You Should Be Looking For!

As I was reading through the tweets with a #trident hashtag I found a succession of tweets from different accounts that were identical and posted within seconds of one another.

#trident twitter accounts.png

What is the likelihood that a dozen different people with distinct first and last names post the same thing at almost the same time?

So I went on to investigate a little further and here is what I found.

  • These accounts follow between 70 to 100 people.
  • They in turn are followed by 50 to 70.
  • In terms of post, some like Josh Wallace and Sarah Bentall have posted 12.5k times while others likeLayla Hare and Mandy Blume. have posted very close to 5800 times.
  • They tend to follow one another, so for instance, Mandy Blume, follows Jaime Frazer who follows Layla Hare who follows back Mandy Blume.
  • They post only news links in the same order at the same time.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

It is difficult to believe that a dozen humans would have such a coordinated pattern of posting. More like this is the result of algorithmic posting. This is not unlike a similar pattern I had found on Linkedin earlier this year.

This suggests that if we wanted to find out a way to identify non-human twitter accounts we should look for the following features:

  • small to negligible standard deviation in terms of
    • followers
    • following
    • number of times
    • time of posting
    • date accounts created
  •  90% or more similarity in posts
  • accounts link to one another to make the numbers and influence analytics

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