New York Attorney General to Investigate Firm That Sells Fake Followers - The New York Times
“Impersonation and deception are illegal under New York law,” Mr. Schneiderman wrote on Twitter. “We’re opening an investigation into Devumi and its apparent sale of bots using stolen identities.”
Eric T. Schneiderman, the attorney general of New York. Credit Sasha Maslov for The New York Times
The investigation is the latest in a series of federal and state inquiries into the commercial and political abuse of fake accounts on social media. Tens of millions of fake accounts have been deployed to defraud businesses, influence political debates online and attract customers.
Social media companies, including Twitter and Facebook, have drawn intense scrutiny for not taking greater steps to weed them out. Many of the accounts identified by The Times appear to violate Twitter’s own policies, but remained active on the social media platform for years, each retweeting and promoting Devumi customers.
“The internet should be one of the greatest tools for democracy — but it’s increasingly being turned into an opaque, pay-to-play playground,” Mr. Schneiderman said.