YouTube Is Easiest Platform To Manipulate, NATO Advisers Find
The NATO Strategic Communication Centre of Excellence bought social media engagement for 105 posts across various platforms for a three month period, which costed a total of $333 for 3,500 comments, 25,000 likes, 20,000 views, and 5,000 followers. The companies they bought from was composed of 11 Russian and 5 European companies that sell fake social media engagement on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.
The team identified 18,739 accounts that delivered the fake engagement and reported them to the respective platforms. Three weeks later, 95% of the accounts remained active. Although many of the accounts’ activity was centered around commercial companies, they were also found to engage with 721 political pages, the accounts of two heads of state, and 52 official government profiles. The study found that Twitter was the best at removing fake likes and retweets while Facebook removed very little content yet blocked the accounts more effectively. YouTube was the worst platform at removing fake accounts and Instagram was the cheapest platform to buy likes and follows, as well as easy to manipulate as none of the accounts reported were suspended.