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

Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
About 500,000 participated around the globe in the Peoples Climate March, and Al Jazeera spoke to some in New York.
Separatist movements in Spain, Belgium and Italy may face headwinds following Scotland's decision to stay in the UK.
A fishing trawler carrying 500 migrants across the Mediterranean was rammed by another boat, causing hundreds to drown.
Anti-immigration Sweden Democrats party - with roots in the neo-Nazi movement - recently won 12.9 percent of the vote.
Palestinian doctor who lost three daughters in previous Gaza war is fighting to bring 100 wounded kids to Canada.