We've all seen the the large numbers of followers and likes appearing on various social media accounts. Twitter and Facebook are not the only ones with these problems.
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. False Social Media Followers From Click Farms [mercurynews.com]
It costs so little to acquire followers and likes that i'm certain it's degrading the value of social media as a worthwhile business tool.
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 (GOOG), 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 a such a company that was built on the principle that users are real people.
Twitter's Jim Prosser said there's no upside. "In the end, they're accounts are suspended, they're out the money and they lose the followers," he said.
This sort of fraud just devalues SNS "like" numbers for everyone. These guys aren't just going after popular entertainment categories. I'm seeing them even in obscure B2B markets. The numbers make sense to the people buying the services, but they have no clue what's being done to get those numbers.