What Scale of Audience a Campaign can Reach in What Price on Twitter?


Abstract—Campaigns with commercial and spam purposes have flooded the Twitter community. To understand what scale of audience a campaign could reach, we first perform a measurement study by collecting a dataset of about 10 million tweets via streaming API and one million search tweets for targeting topics, as well as 37,313 user accounts that are suspended by Twitter. From the dataset, we extract a spam campaign and a commercial promotion campaign accompanied by spamming activities. Then, we characterize the way in which a campaign can reach its audience, especially revealing the features that dominate the information diffusion. After identifying the accounts suspended by Twitter, we further inspect to what extent these features can help to weed out spam accounts. Also, the retrospective inspection is useful to uncover the tactics that malicious accounts utilize to avoid being suspended. Using the measurement results, we then develop a theoretical framework based on an epidemic model to investigate the dynamics of spammers and victims whom spammers reach in the spam campaign. With the theoretical framework, we conduct a benefit-cost analysis of the spam campaign, shedding lights on how to restrict the benefit of the spam campaign. I

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