This fake follower piece by Nicholas Confessore, Gabriel J.X. Dance, Richard Harris, and Mark Hansen for The New York Times is tops. In search of shortcuts to greater influence, many buy followers, likes, and retweets on Twitter. The numbers go up, but a lot of extra “influence” is just automated fluff.
The Times focuses on one company, Devumi, and investigates the follower pattern of some of the customers, as shown above. The scroll-y explanation is good. It’s even got pseudocode in there to explain the type of bots.