When Bullies Fake Follow Themselves

In the case study I shared two weeks ago on Business Tuesday, how numbers added up when fake followers were subtracted from the number of perceived-to-be real followers was explained.  Last week’s article explained how perceived-to-be real followers might also be fake followers.

So what does this mean if someone on Twitter claims that they have endured years of abuse and impersonation, that they have received death threats online, and that none of their abusers have ever been caught or prosecuted?

There are many possible scenarios. It could be true.  Then again, it could be an elaborate story.

An elaborate story?  How so?

The narrative may have been created with an underlying hidden agenda or two.  For example, when the person creating a false narrative has cyberbullied and cybermobbed others, one begins to question if the person’s claim is a manipulative effort to wrestle a blue tick verification out of Twitter.

Last week’s article on fake followers showed how multiple email accounts can be generated by way of only one legitimate email address.  With multiple email accounts, multiple social media accounts can be created.

Let’s say that someone creates a hundred email accounts generated via one legitimate email address.  The legitimate email address isn’t in danger of being blocked by Twitter if it’s flagged or reported.  Only the generated email address will be blocked, and only the associated Twitter account will be reported or deleted.

The owner of the legitimate email address with the legitimate Twitter account is now free to create a scenario where he or she is impersonated and bullied or trolled.  With a few fake tweets attacking the owner of the legitimate Twitter account, what appears to be trolling and/or cyberbullying takes shape.

The owner of the legitimate Twitter account then reports his fake Twitter account for trolling and/or cyberbullying, and blocks the fake Twitter account knowing that the fake  Twitter account will be deleted by Twitter unless …. the owner of the fake Twitter account manages to change the username ID on the fake Twitter account before Twitter can investigate the report.

When a large percentage of someone’s followers on Twitter are fake followers, and when that person posts regularly about the abuse and impersonation they are experiencing on Twitter, there may be more to the story than meets the eye.  The possibility that someone is crying wolf in the hopes that he or she will garner sympathy, secure a blue tick verification, nick a few more followers, and continue to fool the media exists.

Don’t be hoodwinked.  Some of the biggest cyberbullies on the Internet are proficient crybullies with a knack for catastrophizing orchestrated scenarios of their own creation.

Step away from the drama.

Vet your followers carefully.

Delete those who seem to be fake profiles.

Continue being transparent and ethical in your business dealings.

Elyse Bruce


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