There appears to be a Twitter bot farm, with nearly 130,000 fake accounts that are targeting London accounts, including the Mayor of London, the Evening Standard and a number of listings websites and venues.
They all follow the same 21 accounts, none of them seem to follow each other, and none of them have tweeted.
An account is created, and generally within 15 minutes, they have followed the same 21 accounts as all the others. Then they sit there dormant, doing nothing, yet the bot farm is growing.
What is their purpose? Is it a spam factory that’s getting ready to splurge London with spam. Or is it a political campaign waiting for some event to occur when they will spring to life to promote their maker’s political views and make it look like there is popular support?
We don’t know.
What is known is that the creator of the Twitter bots accounts is active and punching them out at a fairly decent speed. They could be Russian, after all, most of the fake account generators on Twitter are, but the Russians tend to more sophisticated, and these were fairly easy to detect.
They’re here, they are legion, and they are waiting to strike.
Based on some work over the weekend, here’s the list of the fake bots that I can determine at this time as a downloadable CSV file.
It’s actually quite difficult to report a fake account to Twitter. Even if I were minded to write a script to report nearly 130,000 accounts, the only fake account report Twitter accepts is where someone is being impersonated.
Purely fake accounts that are just fake, are not reportable, which seems an omission.