Social Media Platforms Address Crypto-Manipulation and Scams

The cryptocurrency phenomenon has led to numerous scams on social media platforms. Companies that are claiming “guaranteed investment” and “no risk of losing money” are taking you to be a crypto-fool. There is no such thing as a guaranteed investment. On its face, investment comes with the risk of losing money.

So, how have these scams evolved?

Empty Promises

Initially, scammers would announce giveaways and contests, promising to send certain amounts of crypto (ETH, BTC, or LTC) to the “first 50 people” to respond or provide financial information. This allows scammers to gauge the types of responses they get, and then look to the followers of these individuals. That provides a sort of database for scammers to identify influencers and other popular accounts out there.

Post Manipulation

Next, scammers would create social media accounts similar to verified accounts, belonging to popular crypto-influencers. They would then leave comments on tweets containing high engagements, promising to send certain amounts of crypto to the address(es) provided. As such, individuals would share, re-tweet, and tag others in these posts, causing the scam posts to appear at the top of the page, or very close by the original tweets.

Account Manipulation

Another measure that scammers have taken is mirroring verified accounts. By either buying out verified accounts or changing their profile pictures, account names, and bios, these scammers are luring individuals away from the actual verified accounts they already follow to these “new” accounts designed to obtain highly sensitive financial information and, eventually, control of people’s digital assets.

What Are Platforms Doing To Minimize Scams?

Last week, Twitter announced that it was joining other platforms like Facebook in attempting to minimize fraud and deceptive trade practices by banning accounts that aim to steal individuals’ digital assets and financial information. “We are on it,” said Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, in reference to addressing cryptocurrency scams.

To that end, Twitter has greyed out accounts under review, with all tweets and pictures hidden. A message in the middle of the screen reads:

Caution: This profile may include potentially sensitive content. You’re seeing this warning because they Tweet potentially sensitive images or language. Do you still want to view it?

The message provides users the option to click “Yes, view profile” or to avoid viewing the account in question.

This move by Twitter is one of many recent efforts to minimize abusive or harmful accounts on the platform. “We’re working to identify accounts as they’re engaging in abusive behavior, even if the behavior hasn’t been reported to us,” said Ed Ho, Twitter’s VP of engineering. “Then, we’re taking action by limiting certain account functionality for a set amount of time, such as allowing only their followers to see their Tweets.”

These efforts aren’t scam-proof, and Twitter recognizes that it may make mistakes when it comes to taking these preventative measures. “We aim to only act on accounts when we’re confident, based on our algorithms, that their behavior is abusive. Since these tools are new, we will sometimes make mistakes, but know that we are actively working to improve and iterate on them [daily].”

Facebook has already begun taking measures against misleading and deceptive trade practices by, for instance, banning ads linked to cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings, and binary options. However, some ads continue to get through.

With each day come new threats and novel solutions implemented in an attempt to counter those threats. Only time will tell what new threats and defensive strategies are enacted in the future.