The New York Times/ Sapna Maheshwari/ March 12, 2018
In a sunny office in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan, Mike Schmidt spends his time ferreting out fake Instagram accounts.
Some are obvious, like the one that had never posted a photo and lacked a profile picture yet followed about 7,500 accounts â€” the maximum allowed by the social media site. Others were trickier. Mr. Schmidt had to scroll down a little on an account with the name @ailebnoblk before the same stock image of a car showed up three times in a row, a glaring clue that there was no real person behind the profile.
â€śThe amount of bot activity thatâ€™s happening on these platforms is pretty insane,â€ť Mr. Schmidt said. â€śJust the amount of new accounts and times these folks are liking and commenting with spam and positive comments and happy-face emojis.â€ť
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