Listening Post
Trending on Twitter: Fake accounts
A look at fraudsters impersonating real celebrities, politicians and corporations on Twitter.
Last Modified: 26 Jan 2012 11:10

In the five years since its creation, the micro-blogging website Twitter has gone from being branded a flash-in-the-pan social media website to an indispensable tool in the news game. It is more than just a self-promotional tool for attention-seeking celebrities.

Twitter is playing a central role in the coverage and distribution of breaking news stories. But within this rapidly expanding medium, there is a growing trend: fake Twitter accounts - fraudsters impersonating real celebrities, politicians and in some cases even corporations are making mischief and scoring political points. 

The practice violates Twitter's terms and conditions but it is not entirely clear what the site can do about it. And until it does find a way to stop the trend, we get to sit back and enjoy the fake tweets that seem to say more about the people and institutions they represent than the real tweets do.

The Listening Post's Nick Muirhead looks at some of the fake Twitter accounts that have caused a stir.

"I actually think that the fake accounts add to the value of Twitter, it shows that you can have a lot of fun. I think the danger of Twitter is that we take it too seriously. Because it's [a] 140 character, public instant messaging platform that has taken off. That's all it is."

Andrew Keen, author

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