Lutz Finger, Co-Founder, Fisheye Analytics

There are fake social media profile out there. Why? What’s their business model? That’s what I want to discuss.

7% of Tweets are fake. This are not spam – these are friend. 20% of us accept friend requests from people we don’t know and check out.  Once these guys are in and talk to you – they’re good. They have personality. This army of bots is with $2.76m. Can an army of bots be the new influencers.

The first generation of bots were just spammers going social. They’re cheap and easy to create. The post messages very fast. They’re basically shouting. But their conversion rate is 1:1.25 million. That’s a terrible conversion rate. They’re also easy to spot. They have few friends, they over-use hashtags, they post all the time, or in bursts, and they are lonely. Their only friends are other bots. Twitter has acted and spam dropped from 10% of a Twitter traffic to 2% between Feb 2009 and Feb 2010.

But by 2011 only 20% of fake Facebook accounts are being detected. Twitter is suing spammers. But the business mddl is changing – bots are being used for smear campaigns. Many politicians have had sudden spikes in followers, that are clearly fake. These weren’t bought by the person in question – they were assigned by their opponents, looking to make them look desperate.

Spammer are learning, too. So bots 2.0 are learning to be social. They aim to be your friends and then to build trust – and through that, influence. Could they create mass movements? Social media allows things to become contagious. It’s easy to use, and people can “support” things with a click.  But can people be influenced? The idea of the influential person isn’t true. Humankind is so stupid as to follow just a single person.

Single data points – like Kimmel talking about the double rainbow video – don’t disprove this. They can’t repeat that phenomenon.

People’s willingness to be influences is topic dependent, for example, people influence each other on classical music, but not indeie or alt music, research shows. Influence is often homophilia in reality. Book and hotel reviews are used by 22% of people – but 40% of those reviews are fake. We like to hear things from multiple sources – 50% of people get their news online -= but 55% of journalists rely on social media for stories, and aren’t great at verifying…

We’re in an arms race, and we need to ensure we don’t train bots anymore. OKCupid is a data-heavy dating service. The more thy shut down bots, the more they train them. So they don’t do that any more – they just move the bots into a secondary world, just full of bots.