Love, happiness, blessings, and spam

unfortunately for Samsung Mobile, the happiness is entirely inauthenticSocial media ads are generally greeted with more annoyance than enthusiasm even in the best of times, and it is therefore quite odd to see a large number of X (formerly Twitter) accounts quoting a Samsung Mobile ad with generic uplifting messages such as “may your days be filled with love, laughter, and sunshine”. Unsurprisingly, there are multiple signs that the accounts creating these posts are inauthentic, between the eerie similarity of the messages, the relatively recent creation dates, and the fact that many of the accounts use StyleGAN-generated faces as profile images. The spammy accounts in question do not limit their artificial amplification to Samsung posts; a variety of news, meme, and political accounts have benefitted from their astroturfy attention, including far-right influencer Libs of TikTok. Libs of TikTok is among the accounts amplified by this spam networkOnce upon a time, mapping out this entire network of spam accounts would have been a relatively trivial task with the free Twitter REST API. Sadly, those days are gone, and researchers must resort to more cumbersome and error-prone methods to gather data on networks such as this one. Exploration of this network was accomplished simply by scrolling through the quote posts of multiple posts amplified by the spam accounts manually, saving the HTML, and parsing the account names and avatars in Python. This process was continued until it ceased yielding large batches of accounts that were not already in the dataset, and is…Love, happiness, blessings, and spam

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