What does it mean to increase your followers? Be aware of fraud in digital media!
Sometimes online popularity comes with a price tag, this is otherwise known as social media’s black market, and its on the rise.
Do you ever wonder how so many celebrities, athletes and politicians gain millions of followers through social media? Have you ever considered where these followers come from, why they would pay to have this many, and if they could be “fake”?
If a normal person sees that millions of people are watching this video on social media and like it, or that millions are following someone or a brand, are they more likely to feel like they are missing out if they don’t follow it too? Usually…yes. So companies and individuals alike have found ways to buy “fake followers”.
In an article published by the New York Times, it examined how one company Devumi, has 3.5 million automated stock accounts, that get sold several times over in order for customers to gain millions of fake followers. Several identities have been stolen in order to accumulate this many profiles.
Some suggest that 48 million of Twitter’s users are automated accounts instead of “real” people. Facebook confessed that they have roughly 60 million automated accounts. These fake profiles are influencing advertising audiences around the globe.
Although social media platforms forbid buying followers, there are still several sites that openly sell them and many companies are still using them, or getting them without realizing that is what they are paying for. So when companies promise followers, you have to know where they come from and how “real” they are, as they may be doing this artificially through bots.
Sara Mendez, MBA is Principle at Mendez Media Marketing, Inc.