Companies are reportedly hiring "click farms" to give their Facebook pages high numbers of fake "likes."
Click farms will also add fake Twitter "followers" and push up the numbers of views on YouTube videos, all for a price.
According to The Guardian, the UK's Channel 4 plans to air a special report on the program "Dispatches" (video below) about how click farms create a fake social media buzz.
Many of these click farms are located in poor countries, such as Bangladesh, where workers are paid as little as $120 a year. They sit in dingy rooms, with bars on the windows, and must create 1,000 fake likes on Facebook or manufacture 1,000 fake followers on Twitter to earn one dollar.
Because people often judge a service or product by the number of its "likes" on Facebook, so click farms are likely misleading consumers.
“Potentially, a number of laws are being breached, the consumer protection and unfair trading regulations. Effectively it’s misleading the individual consumers," says Sam DeSilva, a lawyer specializing in IT.
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One of the reported "click farms" is Shareyt.com, which states on its website: “We made it as simple as mouse-clicking."
Shareyt.com also claims to be a "crowd-sourcing platform to help you improve social media presence and search engine ranking FREE."
“Whenever and wherever you need massive workforce to complete petty tasks, call for Shareyt and get it done like magic! You can’t imagine the potentials [sic] until you explore!”
Shareyt’s owner Sharaf al-Nomani reportedly told Channel 4 in an undercover meeting that “around 30% or 40% of the clicks will come from Bangladesh."
Source: The Guardian