NFT Twitter Is An Absolute Shitshow
How inauthentic Twitter accounts are being used to create the illusion of support
Having spent the past week attending NFT.NYC — where more than 5 thousand tickets were sold and several additional thousand people were in NYC for the event — NFTs are all the rage these days.
OpenSea, the dominant NFT marketplace (with 60% market share), was created in December 2017, and, based on their recent Series B funding (July 2021) was valued at $1.5B.
Coinbase, an investor in OpenSea, announced last month that they, too, would be entering the NFT space and launched a waitlist for Coinbase NFT. Within days, the waitlist for Coinbase NFT surpassed 1.5 million.
Twitter, a couple months back, indicated they would “soon” explore support for NFT authentication, along with making several additional product announcements.
And while there is, without a doubt, a large NFT-supporting community that is active on Twitter, there also exist hundreds of thousands of inauthentic Twitter accounts that seek to make said community seem much larger than reality reflects.
There remains zero incentive for Jack Dorsey to remove these accounts, as Twitter monetizes advertising inventory created from them despite the accounts being in clear violation of Twitter Rules (and where advertisers continue to be fraudulently billed for their Twitter advertising campaigns).
Meet NFT Millionaire (@NFTMillionaire)
Having spent the past couple weeks immersed in NFT Twitter, one thing became clear to me: there exists massive astroturfing
Astroturfing, defined below by Wikipedia, is a common tactic utilized in the crypto assets realm (and where social platforms often function as conduits):
For example, I have documented in great detail how the XRP Army utilizes astroturfing — in addition to other tactics that violate Twitter Rules specific to platform manipulation — to attempt to make it seem as though the XRP-supporting community is much larger than reality reflects. In theory, this could entice retail investors to buy XRP based on what they perceive as being a massive XRP-supporting community across social media.
The “NFT Millionaire” account (@NFTMillionaire) was created in July 2020 and reflects having more than 46 thousand Followers.
Pretty impressive Followers count for an account that has been around for less than 1.5 years, right?
Much less impressive, however, after taking a look under the hood:
- The 31st account to follow @NFTMillionaire, @sordik_djomamou, was created on June 6th, 2021; therefore, we can deduce that effectively all the account’s Followers were acquired on or after June 6th, 2021
- Nearly half of the account’s Followers (22,037 accounts) include “NFT” in either their username, display name, and/or bio; virtually all of these accounts (95%+) are inauthentic and exist solely to billboard Twitter with NFT-centric messaging (and to make various NFT projects appear as though they have larger support/communities than reality reflects)
- Nearly 40% of the account’s Followers (18,411 accounts) have creation dates of August 2021 or later; in other words, about 40% of the account’s Followers are comprised of accounts that were created in the past few months
- Looking at the first 13 accounts to follow @NFTMillionaire, we can see several large, follow-for-follow accounts; this is indicative of a tactic utilized by accounts to artificially inflate their Followers counts, and it is explicitly prohibited by Twitter Rules (@MillRacoons, the first account to follow @NFTMillionaire, not surprisingly, is one of the projects listed in the bio of “NFT Millionaire”):
OK, So What’s Your Point?
To be clear, I have nothing against NFTs — quite the opposite, actually.
Undoubtedly, there will be NFT fanboys/fangirls who will feel attacked by my pointing out the the NFT community is massively astroturfed across Twitter’s platform. This isn’t an attack against NFTs; rather, it’s a call to action for Twitter to step up.
In a world where rug pulls (i.e. those behind NFT projects disappear after a pre-sale without delivering what was promised, for example) have become exceedingly common, creating the illusion of robust community support across social media platforms is an incredibly valuable tool for nefarious actors to have at their disposal.
Social Forensics maps and monitors social connections and activity.
We create purposefully designed tools to manage social data analytics needs across various industries. Our focus is audience segmentation and identifying coordinated inauthentic behavior (CIB) across social media platforms.
Geoff Golberg is an NYC-based researcher (and entrepreneur) who is fascinated by graph visualization/network analysis — more specifically, when applied to social networks and blockchain activity. His experience spans structured finance, ad tech, and digital marketing/customer acquisition, both at startups and public companies.
Geoff is the Founder/CEO/Janitor of Social Forensics.