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Over 40 percent of activity on the internet is fake

By Cal Jeffrey · 14 replies
Dec 28, 2018
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  1. White Ops recently reported on the indictments of two advertising-fraud operations — Methbot and 3ve. Both scams involved fooling advertisers into thinking their ads had been placed on prominent websites and received copious amounts of attention. However, it turned out that everything from the ad views to the sites was fake. This led New York Magazine to the question: “How much of the internet is fake?”

    Perhaps stating that more than 40 percent of the internet is fake is not a surprise, but it is interesting to note nonetheless. Some studies have shown that less than 60 of traffic on the internet is human. Bots became so widespread on YouTube in 2013 that developers were afraid their algorithms would start interpreting bot behavior as human and human traffic as bots.

    The prevalence of bots on the internet is no secret, but it has led to the point of not knowing what is real on the internet.

    In October, Facebook was sued for overestimating how much time users spend watching videos on the platform. According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook contends that it only slightly misjudged the figure by 60 to 80 percent. The plaintiffs say that it was more like 150 to 900 percent. Regardless of which party is right, Facebook has admitted to misreporting other metrics. So, according to NYM, “The metrics are fake.”

    It also points out the growth of click farms. These are services that will guarantee to get you a certain number of views for a price. Of course, these clicks are generated by bots rather than people in most cases, which prompted YouTube to purge what it deemed as “spam accounts” earlier this month. So “the people are fake.”

    Cambridge Analytica showed us that political groups are willing to buy our information from social media sites to influence our political opinions. What’s more, NYM contends that political discourse on the internet has devolved into arguments accusing each other of “virtue signaling” or claiming that the other person is a Russian bot. So, “our politics are fake.”

    "Years of lucrative manipulative systems have created an environment where it makes more sense to be fake online than it does to be real."

    Even “we ourselves are fake.” It used to be that the idiom of “keeping up with the Joneses” meant buying everything you saw your neighbor buy so as not to be left out socially. Now it means we cheat on meaningless online quizzes and post the results on social media to “prove” we are smart. We pretend we are proud of our kids by posting pictures of them when all we really want are the likes. Likewise, we compulsively click the like button on someone else's post even when we don't like what it says, just so that we will continue to be liked by them.

    Of course this is not true for everyone, but it seems to be more and more people are falling into an abyss of fake-ism created by the internet in general and social media in particular.

    “Years of metrics-driven growth, lucrative manipulative systems, and unregulated platform marketplaces have created an environment where it makes more sense to be fake online — to be disingenuous and cynical, to lie and cheat, to misrepresent and distort — than it does to be real,” NYM wrote in closing. “Fixing that would require cultural and political reform in Silicon Valley and around the world, but it’s our only choice. Otherwise, we’ll all end up on the bot internet of fake people, fake clicks, fake sites, and fake computers, where the only real thing is the ads.”

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. Fantastic article (the NYT article is worth a read too). Some priceless lines...
    we can forget these are actions of people. I watched a video on 'van life', the guy made accounts at all the right places (Instagram etc), kept new content flowing, strategically bought 'clicks' and 'upvotes' to make it look like he was a 'influencer' except he didn't even own a van, it was all fake and a successful one too. People are using things like this and monetizing it to help finance their lives, but it has all ended up so bizarrely. From fake van life to that rack of phones downloading apps or 'playing' a game.
    Where is a futurist when you need one, or should I just watch Black Mirror?
     
  3. toooooot

    toooooot TS Evangelist Posts: 691   +331

    I wish those bots on top pictures were actually real, using their tiny bot arms to type on their tiny keyboards.
     
    senketsu and Cal Jeffrey like this.
  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,002   +3,409

    Very interesting article particularly since as recent as a year ago it was reported that over 60% of the internet was porn related. Seriously makes you wonder what the original creators (no, no Al Gore) were thinking and why they didn't give the internet more muscle when it comes to security. Of course, back then Bot wasen't even a term of any common use .......
     
  5. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,765   +373

    It's not about being fake, but to automate specific tasks. I realize some take this to a whole new level, and a lot of it is malicious.

    That's funny to think about though... If we let AI learn (or any type of learning algorithm) from the internet what "human" behavior is, it's not actually going to be learning directly from humans, but from their creations. ..which again, are typically malicious.
     
  6. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,577   +2,296

    “Years of metrics-driven growth, lucrative manipulative systems, and unregulated platform marketplaces have created an environment where it makes more sense to be fake online — to be disingenuous and cynical, to lie and cheat, to misrepresent and distort — than it does to be real,” NYM wrote in closing.

    So, exactly like real life, then.
     
  7. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,542   +1,915

    The original internet was ARPANET which was a trusted network of US government computers. As I see it, their only mistake, which, IMO, really cannot even be called a mistake since they had no crystal ball to tell them unequivocally that the parts of the internet would turn into the :poop: that it is today, was its eventual evolution into a public network - that is - a network where trust was not necessary to become a member of the network. As I see it, Trust is part of where the problem lies - as indicated by this article.

    For a bit of history on the subject - https://www.darpa.mil/about-us/timeline/arpanet Personally, I do not think that anyone can play the blame game on the original founders of the internet. Like the splitting of the atom, it was subsequent humans that have turned the internet into the mess that it is today.

    I think the source article hits it spot on with respect to the changes necessary to restore the internet to a trusted medium. GREED is a primary driver of the :poop: net which, IMO, says something about the nature of the economic systems of the world. To me, the entire economic system of the world needs to change before any of the current world-wide :poop: including the :poop: net will ever change. As I see it, many people, including leaders, live their lives in abject fear and spend their time and money sabre rattling and barrier building to no good end. For example, China's push back against the US charging their hackers was "you guys have all the toys". WTF??

    I hate to paraphrase Rodney King, but humans are going to have to figure out how to get along and share things if humanity is going to make it much further at least as I see it. So far, humanity keeps doing the same things over and over and expects different results.
     
  8. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,656   +1,473

    the definition of insanity :sigh:
     
    Charles Olson likes this.
  9. IAMTHESTIG

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,664   +753

    Even scarier when you talk to people face to face, and reason that over 30% of people are fake.
     
  10. Barontn1

    Barontn1 TS Rookie

    This whole thing about Russia and Facebook and Cambridge analytical is also fake - built up by the media. I'm not saying Russia and China did not buy time to put things out their to make a party look bad, but folks you have to realize that kind of political manuvering has been going on since Washington was president. Plus its really sad to think a tv commercial or a story on Facebook would sway a voter (cmon). Americans cannot be that stupid and superficial to take facebook (are you kidding me) as the decision maker and not look at substantive historical data instead.
     
    Cal Jeffrey likes this.
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,586   +3,755

    - Are you kidding me, yourself, or both of us? A TV story or commercial, or any of the social media outlets, are ALL Americans HAVE to influence their vote.

    Jackson Browne, (Yes, the California hippy singer who wrote, "Take it Easy" ), has been one of the sharpest social observers and commenter, for decades.

    I keep posting this, and it seems you people keep missing the point. This story has so many tangents, so much blame, and counter accusations, it misses one fundamental truth, our great intellect it its own worst enemy.We have transferred our predatory instincts to our higher brain functions.

    Anyway I'm going to try again with this message. I have emboldened what I believe to be the most important part of the message

    Jackson Browne
    LIVES IN THE BALANCE
    Ive been waiting for something to happen
    For a week or a month or a year
    With the blood in the ink of the headlines
    And the sound of the crowd in my ear
    You might ask what it takes to remember
    When you know that youve seen it before
    Where a government lies to a people
    And a country is drifting to war

    And theres a shadow on the faces
    Of the men who send the guns
    To the wars that are fought in places
    Where their business interest runs

    On the radio talk shows and the TV
    You hear one thing again and again
    How the USA stands for freedom
    And we come to the aid of a friend
    But who are the ones that we call our friends
    These governments killing their own?
    Or the people who finally cant take any more
    And they pick up a gun or a brick or a stone
    There are lives in the balance
    There are people under fire
    There are children at the cannons
    And there is blood on the wire

    Theres a shadow on the faces
    Of the men who fan the flames
    Of the wars that are fought in places
    Where we cant even say the names

    They sell us the President the same way
    They sell us our clothes and our cars
    They sell us everything from youth to religion
    The same time they sell us our wars
    I want to know who the men in the shadows are
    I want to hear somebody asking them why
    They can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are
    But theyre never the ones to fight or to die
    And there are lives in the balance
    There are people under fire
    There are children at the cannons
    And there is blood on the wire


     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
    Digitalzone and senketsu like this.
  12. surely you jest, I almost choked when I read "Americans cannot be that stupid and superficial to take facebook (are you kidding me) as the decision maker and not look at substantive historical data instead."
    I question how many of these voters even know what the word 'substantive' means....
     
    Charles Olson likes this.
  13. Digitalzone

    Digitalzone TS Booster Posts: 90   +44

    It's not about Americans, people are stupid everywhere. They dont understand the system they live in. Because of that some are naive, some prefer conspiracy. In democratic capitalism, it is the capital who is in charge, the politics are "puppets" and do what moguls allow them. And I think the puppet is right word for that, because it is the politician who is elected and the new better face can always be found.
    In Europe, I can see massive shift from program-based elections (party platform) to mere populism.
     
  14. yfo866

    yfo866 TS Rookie

    Is this a comment on the amount of counterfeit goods for sale on fleabay, and the fact that they couldn't care less as long as they still get their listing fees?
     
  15. dogofwars

    dogofwars TS Addict Posts: 161   +63

    I think Sacha Baron Cohen pretty much nailed it with Who is America.
     

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