Celebrities, Businesses and Government Departments Buying ‘BOGUS’ Facebook Likes from ‘CLICK FARMS’ | Mail Online


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Mail Online

0000 article-2534488-1A71E4EE00000578-943_634x474Celebrities, businesses and even the U.S. State Department have bought bogus Facebook likes, Twitter followers or YouTube viewers from offshore ‘click farms,’ where workers tap, tap, tap the thumbs up button, view videos or retweet comments to inflate social media numbers.

Since Facebook launched almost 10 years ago, users have sought to expand their social networks for financial gain, winning friends, bragging rights and professional clout. And social media companies cite the levels of engagement to tout their value.

But an Associated Press examination has found a growing global marketplace for fake clicks, which tech companies struggle to police. Online records, industry studies and interviews show companies are capitalizing on the opportunity to make millions of dollars by duping social media.

For as little as a half cent per each click, websites hawk everything from LinkedIn connections to make members appear more employable to Soundcloud plays to influence record label interest.

As a result, many firms, whose values are based on credibility, have entire teams doggedly pursuing the buyers and brokers of fake clicks. But each time they crack down on one, another, more creative scheme emerges.

When software engineers wrote computer programs, for example, to generate lucrative fake clicks, tech giants fought back with software that screens out ‘bot-generated’ clicks and began regularly sweeping user accounts.

YouTube wiped out billions of music industry video views last December after auditors found some videos apparently had exaggerated numbers of views. Its parent-company, Google, is also constantly battling people who generate fake clicks on their ads.

And Facebook, whose most recent quarterly report estimated as many as 14.1 million of its 1.18 billion active users are fraudulent accounts, does frequent purges.

That’s particularly important for such a company that was built on the principle that users are real people.

 READ THE FULL DAILY MAIL ONLINE STORY HERE 

Mail Online

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