Paying for likes - the social media fraud of 'bot' buying
Do you know someone that has remarkably high numbers of followers on their Twitter or Facebook account? Ever wonder how they got them?
Well, perhaps they bought them.
Millions of fake Twitter and Facebook accounts are feeding a shadowy global marketplace for social media fraud, a new investigation from the New York Times has revealed.
Cate Owen, a social media expert joined Ali Mau to explain what a 'bot' is and why there is big money involved.
"It's essentially an automated account. It's not a real person, it's just a piece of code that sits on the other end of a computer or a mobile phone and it does your bidding for you.
"Whether that be follow you, engage with your content. And that's to make you look good, basically," she told RadioLIVE.
And someone is making a lot of money off of it.
But why would anyone bother to buy a bot?
"It makes you feel good. People log in and they see they've got tens of thousands of followers and it gives them a little self-esteem boost.
"The second reason is the amount of freebies or good customer service you can get when you have a lot of followers. Getting freebies from PR companies, getting early invites to events, or if you've got a dispute with your telco they can see you've got ten thousand followers and will expedite you up the list.
"The third reason is then turning around to media buyers and agencies and saying...'I'm an influencer, pay me to post about you."
Listen to the full interview with Cate Owen above.
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