“Everything Is Fake”, the Internet Is Fake, All Fake

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All the traffic you think you see, Facebook numbers, Twitter friends, it’s all fake, according to people in the know. More than that, what is real? In this age of social media and morphed everything, what can we assume is real?

“It’s all true: Everything is fake,” tweeted former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao. She was referencing a Wednesday New York Magazine article which reveals that internet traffic metrics from some of the largest tech companies are overstated or fabricated.

She added that mobile user counts are “fake”. No one can figure out how to count users who log out. When people switch cell towers, it appears to be another used, inflating the numbers.

If a logged-in user uses a site on multiple devices, each device counts as a unique user.

Max Read writing for NY Mag addressed the extent to which it is fake.

How much of the internet is fake? Studies generally suggest that, year after year, less than 60 percent of web traffic is human; some years, according to some researchers, a healthy majority of it is bot. For a period of time in 2013, the Times reported this year, a full half of YouTube traffic was “bots masquerading as people,” a portion so high that employees feared an inflection point after which YouTube’s systems for detecting fraudulent traffic would begin to regard bot traffic as real and human traffic as fake.

The metrics should be real given the objective nature of them.

Take something as seemingly simple as how we measure web traffic. Metrics should be the most real thing on the internet: They are countable, trackable, and verifiable, and their existence undergirds the advertising business that drives our biggest social and search platforms. Yet not even Facebook, the world’s greatest data–gathering organization, seems able to produce genuine figures. In October, small advertisers filed suit against the social-media giant, accusing it of covering up, for a year, its significant overstatements of the time users spent watching videos on the platform (by 60 to 80 percent, Facebook says; by 150 to 900 percent, the plaintiffs say).

Finally, the author says, “The people are fake”, “The businesses are fake”, “The content is fake”, “Our politics are fake,” and finally “We ourselves are fake.”

The internet has always played host in its dark corners to schools of catfish and embassies of Nigerian princes, but that darkness now pervades its every aspect: Everything that once seemed definitively and unquestionably real now seems slightly fake; everything that once seemed slightly fake now has the power and presence of the real.

It might be an overstatement but it smacks of truth more than fakery.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Of course, the metrics are fake. The tech companies inflate the numbers so they can defraud the advertisers. Billions of dollars are fraudulently collected by these left-leaning tech giants who are worth, at best, one-tenth of their inflated stock valuations.

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