Hidden Industry Dupes Social Media Users

A trawl of Chinese crowd-sourcing websites — where people can earn a few pennies for small jobs such as labelling images — has uncovered a multimillion-dollar industry that pays hundreds of thousands of people to distort interactions in social networks and to post spam.

The report’s authors, at the University of California, Santa Barbara, also found evidence that crowd-sourcing sites in the US are similarly dominated by ethically questionable jobs. They conclude that the rapid growth of this way of making money will make paid shills a serious security problem for websites and those who use them around the world. A paper describing their results is available on the Arxiv pre-print server — via redwolf.newsvine.com

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