4. I can't help but wonder: Cui bono?
@fribbledom I'm pretty sure many people are doing it.
@fribbledom It would be interesting if you bought some number of followers, then tracked those accounts to see if you can find a connection between those accounts and the networks that they are part of. Perhaps bet some idea as to how widespread this activity is.
At a guess: government organs trying to build a library of faces.
@fribbledom Some of those networks are for hire - somebody wants a particular narrative pushed or a trend, they'll do it for a couple of BTC. When I was still in the cryptocurrency community, I got propositioned once or twice a week to do that after HOPE that year. Mostly price manipulation. Their political activities are bought and paid for, and they don't much seem to care as long as it spends.
Some of those networks are definitely political only in nature. A bunch of bots during the '16 election were vulnerable to SQLi via DM. Lots of the table names were in Cyrillic. They were patched pretty fast after the back end databases were restored, and those are the ones you're seeing (that Lifeline filters out for me, because getting them taken down was futile).
Birbsite is lost.
It is particularly notable because it seems to be very badly done. There were a few cases where lots of account posted angry replies to unrelated topics... because misspelled words looked like the president's name.
@fribbledom maybe an analysis of what comes out of that bubble (i. e. who reads those bots except for the other bots) might answer that. (Mind that the posts may appear anywhere, not only to their followers.)
@fribbledom very possibly someone who gets paid to offer "a massively influential twitter network" like native bookface videos had "massive reach, you should totally move all your content to us." There are similar networks of fake sites full of ads being visited and clicked on by bots ... the owners get money, and the advertisers get some impressive-looking numbers to show their bosses.
@fribbledom there is a massive system of parasites and rent seekers in online advertisement, like tens or hundreds of billions of dollars a year ... "ad fraud" is one term for the kind where bots write sites and bots from the same server farm click the ads on them
@fribbledom The rich and powerful are historically the ones who benefit from keeping the poor focused on fighting each other rather than on looking at the root cause of their poverty. (Wealth being accumulated rather than distributed.)
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