Without a peep from the company (a spokesperson did not respond to our request for comment last week) we set out to find out more on our own. We kept a close eye on a few dozen of these bots over the past week, all of which were created with the same pattern of username (a random name and a few numbers) and were created within the space of an hour or so. In the end, the scheme looked like little more than a cheap shot to promote half-baked dating sites that ask for money to sign up, even though the hapless few who do probably have almost zero chance of getting lucky.
After further investigation, we learned that a Romanian spammer, Laurentiu Ciocoiu (perhaps a pseudonym), is in part behind the recent uptick in these spam bots.
Ciocoiu started earlier this year with his most recent campaign, setting up a complicated network of thousands of fake Twitter accounts that would almost always follow the same pattern: Each account would follow a few dozen legitimate accounts — such as high-profile, verified news publications and celebrities that are presented when the user first opens a Twitter account — and then fake accounts would follow the other fake accounts.