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Nearly 50 million fake Twitter accounts are being sold to real users

Three teenage girls lost in the world of smartphone apps and messaging.
Three teenage girls lost in the world of smartphone apps and messaging. Photo: In Pictures Ltd. / Corbis via Getty Images

A New York Times investigation revealed that an approximate 48 million Twitter users are fake profiles "designed to simulate real people," which can be sold to customers trying to gain more followers.

Why it matters: Per the Times, the fake accounts "can help sway advertising audiences and reshape political debates. They can defraud businesses and ruin reputations." And, they're made to imitate real people, who may also be on Twitter, and haven't given permission for their photos or names to be used.