In a time of “social distancing,” people around the world have relied on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok to maintain relationships.

This report examines two aspects of threat actor behavior that are often overlooked in the media spotlight on the political abuse of social media platforms: the economic and the personal motivations that drive abuse of these platforms.

Of the former, this report examines the underground trade in tools and services to artificially inflate user engagement with social media accounts in order to drive up the value of the account as an advertising medium – or as a commodity itself.

Of the latter, this report examines the chatter of threat actors looking to hack into social media accounts, usually those of their friends, lovers – or even blackmailers.

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