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2017 #SMSociety Theme: Social Media for Social Good or Evil

Our online behaviour is far from virtual–it extends our offline lives. Much social media research has identified the positive opportunities of using social media; for example, how people use social media to form support groups online, participate in political uprising, raise money for charities, extend teaching and learning outside the classroom, etc. However, mirroring offline experiences, we have also seen social media being used to spread propaganda and misinformation, recruit terrorists, live stream criminal activities, reinforce echo chambers by politicians, and perpetuate hate and oppression (such as racist, sexist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic behaviour).

Sunday, July 30 • 15:31 - 17:00
Can We Trust Social Media Data? Social Network Manipulation By An IoT Botnet [FULL]

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Authors: Masarah Paquet-Clouston, Olivier Bilodeau and David Décary-Hétu

Abstract: The size of an account’s audience – in terms of followers or friends count – is believed to be a good measure of its influence and popularity. To gain quick artificial popularity on online social networks (OSN), one can buy likes, follows and views from social media fraud (SMF) services. Social media fraud (SMF) is the generation of likes, follows and views on OSN such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Using a research method that combines computer sciences and social sciences, this paper provides a deeper understanding of the illicit market for SMF. It conducts a market price analysis for SMF, describes the operations of a supplier – an Internet of things (IoT) botnet performing SMF – and provides a profile of the potential customers of such fraud. The paper explains how an IoT botnet conduct social network manipulation and illustrates that the fraud is driven by OSN users, the entertainers, small online shops and private users that create the demand. It also illustrates that OSN strategy to suspend fake accounts only cleans the networks a posteriori of the fraud and does not deter the crime – the botnet – or the fraud – SMF – from happening. Several solutions to deter the fraud are provided.

Sunday July 30, 2017 15:31 - 17:00
TRS 1-075 - 7th Flr Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University 55 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5G 2C9

Attendees (20)