In an era of fake news, it comes as no surprise to me that a thousand or a million likes on social media platforms are actually fake. Celebrities and politicians buy fake followers to boost their popularity and to move political agendas. Yup! Companies like Devumi offer Twitter followers, views of YouTube, plays on SoundCloud, and endorsements on Linkedin – often for as little as a few cents per follower. It doesn’t just stop here in the US, this is happening in China, Ecuador, and all over the world. According to Rami Essaid, founder of Distil Networks, a cybersecurity company that specializes in eradicating bot networks, “Social media is a virtual world that is filled with half bots, half real people.” What you see on social media may not be what you think it is.
What’s wrong with insecure people buying followers – kind of like buying friends? It makes the rest of the population feel insignificant by comparison. So many young people suffer in silence as they see how popular others are. Aspiring artists and musicians feel depressed when their follower stats are low.
I hope cybersecurity companies can reveal true numbers and shame abusers of the system so we can establish some sort of semblance of real facts and real news.