Follow the Green: Growth and Dynamics in Twitter Follower Markets

Authors

Gianluca Stringhini, Gang Wang, Manuel Egele, Christopher Kruegel, Giovanni Vigna, Haitao Zheng, Ben Y. Zhao

Venue

Proceedings of the 2013 Conference on Internet Measurement Conference (IMC), October 2013

Abstract

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.

BibTeX

@inproceedings{Stringhini2013Follow_the,
  title     = {{Follow the Green: Growth and Dynamics in Twitter Follower Markets}},
  author    = {Stringhini, Gianluca and Wang, Gang and Egele, Manuel and Kruegel, Christopher and Vigna, Giovanni and Zheng, Haitao and Zhao, Ben Y.},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of the 2013 Conference on Internet Measurement Conference},
  series    = {IMC},
  year      = {2013},
  address   = {New York, NY, USA},
  doi       = {10.1145/2504730.2504731},
  isbn      = {978-1-4503-1953-9},
  pages     = {163--176},
  publisher = {ACM},
  url       = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2504730.2504731}
}