Twitter users are increasingly starting to question whether the frequent number of Twitter accounts that are following them are actually people, or simply a form of Twitter spamming. The rule of thumb with that sort of question is usually that if you think something nefarious might be going on, unfortunately, you're probably right.
The next question that invariably comes up is, well, why? What benefit do these purported Twitter spammers get from friending everyone they possibly can? The answer is twofold:
1. There is a large number of very misguided people that seem to believe that the polite thing to do when someone follows you on Twitter is to follow them back. This is a ludicrous behavior. (As a quick aside, if one of the main things we struggle with in our high-speed, data filled lives is trying to keep a sane signal-to-noise ratio, and learning how to filter out the noise, why would we actively choose to follow random people's Twitter updates? What an incredible waste of time.) The thing is, this behavior can be and is exploited. If someone follows 20,000 random Twitter accounts, there is a very good chance that they will get at least 10% of those people following them back. Perfect! Now they have an audience of 2,000 people to spam, for free.
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