Fake accounts on the Internet: what are their goals and how to recognize them

Fake accounts are a well-known part of the internet, and while there are some for humorous purposes, others are for criminal purposes. The most recent case is that of the artist Rozalén, who has denounced an account that pretended to be her to ask minors for photographs and money. The singer has shown how this profile asked a 13-year-old boy for 500 euros to supposedly spend the holidays with him. Our verification expert and fake news He has appeared like every week at La Ventana to explain more about these false accounts and how to recognize them.

From humor to extortion

“It is common to use false accounts to extort, scam and other similar actions,” he explained. According to the expert, it is estimated that, of the 319 million monthly active users of Twitter, 48 million or about 15% are fake accounts or bots. However, there are types of fake accounts. Amorós explained that, on the one hand, there are the fake parodic accounts of public figures, but he warned: “Twitter allows parodic accounts but requires that they be clearly labeled as such.” There are also those that seek to create currents of opinion: “They come out in a storm to support the ideas of their leader to make us believe that he has greater social support than he really does.” These profiles usually use, according to the expert, photographs from image banks and nicknames with many numbers. “They have little previous activity or abandoned accounts,” he added.

The keys to identify them

So the question is: How do you recognize a fake account? Amorós has given some advice to be able to identify them. In the first place, photography is “a good clue”, since they are usually from image banks or from completely unrelated people. The age of the profile also gives them away: “Many fake accounts are created out of nowhere.” Although he has also warned that this fact does not usually happen always: “An account that has changed its name many times is likely to be a false profile that is changing owners.”

Some of the main hoaxes this week have been, on the one hand, the alleged false bookstore fund that Pablo Casado used in a video he recorded during his confinement. A humorous Twitter account posted a false image in which he could see that same fund offered on Amazon. On the other hand, videos have gone viral in which, supposedly, antigen tests gave positive results with orange juice and other fruits. Amorós has clarified that, although the videos are real, the results obtained are not positive.

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