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January 7, 2011

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Microblog fraudsters adapt to vigilance

THE business of selling virtual fans to microblogs seems to be booming, with new tactics being applied to create more effective disguises to avoid being shut down.

The "fans for sale" agency business grew quickly after the popularity of microblogs began to sweep the country in 2009.

With more website managers stepping up counter measures, agents are now upgrading their "products" to avoid detection.

The products have lately evolved into "live fans" from the older generation of "zombie fans" as they are nicknamed online.

A "zombie fan" takes no part in microblog discussions and merely raises the status of the microblogger by making them seem popular.

Chinese website controllers have become aware of this practice, and are taking measures to prevent the activity, such as banning microbloggers. However, the agents have adapted to find dodge the increased vigilance.

Going live

Nicknamed "live fans," the improved fans accounts are decorated with "flesh and blood" to avoid being discovered and dismissed by the microblog administrators.

Such "live fans" accounts have occasional updates on their own pages to help -convince the public and -website administrators that they take a real interest in microblogging, instead of being tools of agents. has had a special team on duty since last year to curb the spread of agent fans and has blocked at least 200,000 account.


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