Should you buy a used social media account from a website like accs-market.com?
The answer to this eternal question is always "no"
Most social media platforms have clauses in their terms of service that explicitly prohibit account sales. Despite this, it isn’t hard to find third-party websites offering a variety of accounts for sale. One such site is accs-market.com, which provides a marketplace for people to offer used YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, Twitter, TikTok, Likee, and Discord accounts for purchase by prospective buyers. (The Likee and Discord categories have no accounts listed at the time of this writing.) Much of the site’s merchandise consists of accounts that were grown by inauthentic means, and accounts with signs of being hacked/compromised turn up here and there as well.
Per WHOIS records, the accs-market.com domain was registered on March 1st, 2019, and the earliest Wayback Machine capture of the site is from March 4th, 2019. Although the domain is currently registered with NameCheap, it was using Russian registrar reg.ru back in August 2020. The initial lineup of supported social platforms was smaller than at present — only Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, YouTube, and Twitter accounts were available — but otherwise the site looked much as it does today. Due to the ease of downloading data from Twitter relative to other platforms (and for the sake of brevity), the examples of for-sale accounts in the remainder of this article are all Twitter accounts.
Many of the accounts listed for sale on accs-market.com appear to have impressively large numbers of followers (presumably a selling point), but frequently all is not as it seems. The for-sale accounts often have thousands or tens of thousands of fake followers from large fake follower networks, and in some cases have almost no authentic followers at all. Needless to say, if you purchase one of these accounts and are expecting a lot of engagement from genuine human beings, you’re likely to be disappointed.
For more information on identifying fake follower networks and inauthentic follower growth on Twitter (including example Python code), read this article:
One perennially popular (and frequently successful) strategy for going viral on Twitter and building a large following is to create accounts that do nothing but tweet eye-catching images (frequently plagiarized or misrepresented and sometimes tweeted via automation tools). These tweets tend to be popular regardless of political faction or Twitter subculture, and thus are effective for building an audience that isn't confined to any single online bubble. Once these accounts reach a certain size, it's not uncommon for them to be sold on sites like accs-market.com, sometimes for thousands of dollars. This technique has the advantage that the followers are mostly real people who will actually your tweets if you purchase the account, but if you do something different with it than its previous owner, your audience will probably catch on sooner or later.
Every now and then blue-check verified Twitter accounts pop up on accs-market.com, frequently for sizable amounts of money. (This has become less frequent since Twitter started selling blue checkmarks for $8 a month in November 2022, but has not ceased entirely.) These accounts frequently receive makeovers after purchase; transformation into cryptocurrency accounts is, as happened with the Twitter account of Indian footballer Dhanpal Ganesh. In another case, the Twitter account of American actress Sadie Calvano was transformed into “McDonald’s France”, which tweeted some rather unique images. Calvano eventually regained control of her account, while Ganesh’s account is presently suspended.
In at least two cases, groups of NFT/cryptocurrency-themed accounts with followers from a specific large fake follower network (and no real followers) have been listed for sale on accs-market.com by the same user at roughly the same time. In the more recent of these cases (six accounts listed for sale in January 2023 with 10K-55K followers each), the user who listed the accounts openly acknowledged that all of the followers were bots. These listings raise the possibility that the users who posted them are in some way affiliated with the fake follower network. In any event, these accounts are not worth purchasing, especially since Twitter has already suspended all of them.
Much of the research in this article was originally posted on Twitter in this thread by @ZellaQuixote and I: