How Impersonators Exploit Instagram to Generate Fake Engagement?

17 Feb 2020  ·  Koosha Zarei, Reza Farahbakhsh, Noel Crespi ·

Impersonators on Online Social Networks such as Instagram are playing an important role in the propagation of the content. These entities are the type of nefarious fake accounts that intend to disguise a legitimate account by making similar profiles. In addition to having impersonated profiles, we observed a considerable engagement from these entities to the published posts of verified accounts. Toward that end, we concentrate on the engagement of impersonators in terms of active and passive engagements which is studied in three major communities including ``Politician'', ``News agency'', and ``Sports star'' on Instagram. Inside each community, four verified accounts have been selected. Based on the implemented approach in our previous studies, we have collected 4.8K comments, and 2.6K likes across 566 posts created from 3.8K impersonators during 7 months. Our study shed light into this interesting phenomena and provides a surprising observation that can help us to understand better how impersonators engaging themselves inside Instagram in terms of writing Comments and leaving Likes.

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