Seriously.  If you haven’t read Max Reed’s article “How Much of the Internet Is Fake? Turns Out, a Lot of It, Actually” yet, stop what you’re doing and do it right now.

Here are just a few of the gems Reed lays out:

  • How much of the internet is fake? Studies generally suggest that, year after year, less than 60 percent of web traffic is human
  • 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.

  • Not even Facebook, the world’s greatest data–gathering organization, seems able to produce genuine figures.
  • My favorite statistic this year was Facebook’s claim that 75 million people watched at least a minute of Facebook Watch videos every day — though, as Facebook admitted, the 60 seconds in that one minute didn’t need to be watched consecutively. Real videos, real people, fake minutes.

After the article came out, Former CEO of Reddit, Ellen Pao, chimed in: “It’s all true:  Everything is fake” she posted on Twitter.

“It’s all true:  Everything is fake” – Ellen Pao, former CEO at Reddit

She went on to say that “mobile user counts are fake.  No one has figured out how to count logged-out mobile users as I learned at reddit.  Every time someone switches call towers, it looks like another user and inflates company user metrics… and if an unlogged-in user uses the site on multiple devices, each device counts as a unique user.”

Pao

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