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Is the internet mostly fake?

     
3:17 pm on Jan 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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[wnycstudios.org...]

An interesting discussion with Max Read writer of a recent article in New York magazine called 'How Much of the Internet Is Fake?

So the inversion was a name that YouTube engineers gave to an event in 2013. When the site was under attack from fraudulent bot traffic. YouTube, like most platforms, has pretty sophisticated fraud detection systems. But those systems work by identifying real and fake traffic in part based on the percentages on the site. This attack was so large that it was brushing up against about 50 percent of the traffic and the engineers were genuinely worried that their systems would start to regard real traffic as fake and fake traffic is real.


I think this fact is well know here among the WW community but it is interesting that this is now moving into the main stream, and what are the implications of this?
3:43 pm on Jan 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It depends what fakes you are looking at. Fake traffic does not mean fake content. Fake content that is only read by bots is not the same as fake content read by people.
4:20 pm on Jan 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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YouTube != the internet, though. "Tall trees catch much wind", is a proverb here. There's lots of fake traffic, sure, but I haven't had to deal with it much so far.

Fake content that is only read by bots is not the same as fake content read by people.

I'm picturing bots reading fake content. What a time to be alive.
4:47 pm on Jan 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It's a very reasonable suggestion by mainstream media about "fake" aspects of the internet.

The Net is alive with fakes in so many areas, in part because people can, but it's also become a way for bad actors to make use of the anonymity and ploy their scamming acts. These acts range from fake accounts, through to phishing and identity theft. It's the wild west, for sure.

Stats quoted by the big companies are, of course, read with a very large pinch off salt. Bots skew the true figures, either for scamming, or simply because they can.

There's also the fake aspect of skewing data with big business. For example: Ad click bots.

Has it got worse of the years? Yes, I believe it has, and it's helped develop new bad actors that have moved their theft from physical to virtual. Some may not have been bad actors in the physical world because they don't have the guts to stage a heist on a bank. Also, they are less likely to get physical violence back as the innocent protect their own property.

I can't see it getting any better, to be perfectly honest, but I can see people becoming much more savvy, in the same way that they'd not leave their valuable on show in parked cars. Yep, I know people still do it, but, I think you get my drift.
6:48 pm on Jan 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Article referenced in the original link, also by Max Read: [nymag.com...]

I'd say 40% of my traffic is human, 30% is identified search engine, and 30% are bots, malicious or not. Search engines are not fake, so I'd say the unknown bots significantly contribute to the fakeness of analytics and webstats.. The bots are easy to identify, but not always to block. While my site is bilingual Chinese/English and I welcome all Chinese search engines I have yet to see on my log, an identifiable, actual Chinese person. I continue to look.

It is pretty easy to spot a bot vs a human, just using your raw access log.
8:16 pm on Jan 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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When speaking of the web as an whole entity numbers are far from exact. Therefore while the following are generally accepted I'd consider them as approximations only.

Traffic: bot 52%, human 48%.
Note: consider bot traffic as a percentage to be on the increase, human on the decrease.
Note: as a rule of thumb, the smaller the site, in traffic terms, the larger the percentage will be bots; often 80%+.
Note: Google Analytics is wretched at bot identification.

Content: 30% is scraped and/or republished pretty much verbatim, another 10% is scraped and mashed, and another 5% is generated keyword gobbledygook.
Note: thanks Google (AdSense).

Toss in the increasing rash of 'false news' et al and an extremely good case can be made that half the web is fake and getting faker.

Note: an increasing number of bots are increasingly difficult to distinguish from human. It's a nasty web out there and not getting any nicer.
Note: on the positive side as the value of traffic and content overall sinks it raises the value...
5:06 am on Jan 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The gamers continue to find new ways to automate traffic, so yes, the web is increasingly FAKE, yet the bad actors still rely on those who actually run sites for their bread and butter (whatever that might be).

Content can still be found, webmasters continue the whack-a-mole, and the actual scale of the web makes all of this possible. This contretemps will not change until every human on the planet is connected and THEN we can find out which are bots and which are humans.

Until then, we're just guessing.

Won't happen this year.
2:44 pm on Feb 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Is the internet mostly fake?

heh... I thought it was mostly p0rn.
8:30 pm on Feb 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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^ .... that, too!
 

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