If you have a Twitter account, you may have "people" that follow you with what are suspiciously fake accounts. The tell-tale signs are standard: thousands of followers with barely any (if even one) tweets, tweets that contain lots of links and mentions without any real content, an empty profile or very generic (or porn-y) information in the profile. Most likely, they're bots, automated accounts run by computers that generate comments and follow people - it's like the spam of the Twitterscape. Here's an example of someone that followed me recently that I suspect is most likely not a real person:
You don't have to scrutinize Ms. Maribel's information too hard to gather that there is something fishy about this account. I'd wager that those nearly 100 followers of hers are probably also bots and they probably non-Tweet about botty things. These things are everywhere on Twitter. In all seriousness, I don't think I've been followed by a real person on Twitter in months. And although Facebook certainly has its share of phony accounts, Twitter seems to be the more polluted of the two.
HOWEVER. It turns out that these might not be meaningless bots after all thanks to a new operation from the United States Department of Homeland Security. According to a new report in The Daily Mail, the DHS uses fake Twitter and Facebook accounts to monitor and track people who happen to use "sensitive" words. What kind of sensitive words? Words that despite sounding villainous are actually fairly generic. "The DHS outlined plans to scans blogs, Twitter and Facebook for words such as 'illegal immigrant', 'outbreak', 'drill', 'strain', 'virus', 'recovery', 'deaths', 'collapse', 'human to animal' and 'trojan', according to an 'impact asssessment' document filed by the agency." If the DHS catches someone using any of these words and suspects you might be up to no good, it could mean that " spies from the government read your posts, investigate your account, and attempt to identify you from it, acccording to an online privacy group." Spies! Human to animal virus death recovery! Okay, DHS, you guys are obviously new to The Internet because just about every one of those keywords of yours could also be easily used in the context of sex and if you were familiar at all with this thing called The Internet you'd realize that 98% of it is porn-related. (P.S. - in case you didn't know, porn includes sex.)
Not a group to let this trespass of our blessed privacy, everyone on Twitter responded appropriately:
Dept. of Homeland Security could be watching Facebook & Twitter 4 danger words like 'virus', 'illegal immigrant' & drill.
Human to animal. Infection. Collapse. Outbreak. Illegal immigrants. Please RT!
So as if the keyword surveillance probably wasn't muddled with sexy search results already then the noble crusaders of Twitter have undoubtedly thrown a couple more monkey wrenches into the Big Brothery gears of the DHS. At least I hope it has because if not then the combination of my searches on Twitter for their keywords in addition to my use of all of the words in this article will probably be enough for the feds to punch my ticket to Gitmo later today.