If you think people act fake online now, just wait: troubling research seems to indicate that in just two years’ time, up to 15 percent of our social media interaction will be truly fake. This means fake “likes” on Facebook pages and Twitter accounts padded with thousands of followers with obviously machine-generated names and nonsensical tweets will become a common feature of our social media experience.
As TechCrunch explains, however, the advent of paid social networking stroke jobs has given birth to sleuthing services to help us separate the merely glib from digitally-generated affection:
The whole concept of figuring out fake followers for famous and not-so-famous brands and people has even become something of an online pastime, with sites like Fake Follower Check from StatusPeople revealing all sorts of embarrassing numbers.
To maintain viability, services like Twitter and Facebook will also have to deal with the influx of phonies. As TechCrunch notes, an imbalance between advertising and honestly-generated user content may jeopardize social networking’s typical business model.
Gartner, Inc. issued the report regarding the rise of the fakes and the company’s senior research analyst Jenny Sussin had some advice for those seeking to embrace social media in a less sneaky way:
“Organizations engaging in social media can help to promote trust by openly embracing both positive and negative reviews and leveraging negative reviews as a way to encourage customers with positive product or service experiences to share them on review sites as well,” Ms. Sussin said.”They should also respond to ratings and reviews in an official capacity to demonstrate willingness to engage in productive conversation with anyone.”
While social media fakery may not be a real problem until at least 2014, it’s a good idea to go ahead and assume no one is real anymore and act accordingly.