December 5, 2022
How the mysterious world of selling followers on social media works

How the mysterious world of selling followers on social media works

Buying followers brings false credibility to influencers and brands

Photo: Pixabay

How to get views, followers and likes social networks? There are companies that specialize in selling false engagementwhich is illegal.

a follower size legitimizes touching personality And even advertising brand, which makes profitable business in various sectors. When this participation is incorrect, consumers and even voters are deceived.

Part of this work is performed by robots, a program that impersonates humans on networks. Another part, by people who can get as little as 0.01 BRL per task like liking, following, watching and commenting.

It’s not hard to hire these services: the report did a little research on The Google, which displays various advertisements from companies that provide this service, with companies such as Seguidores Up, Seguidores Eternos, Agência Pop Up and SocialFast. You can buy 10,000 followers on Instagram for just R$179, pay in installments, and even choose between Brazilians and foreigners.

Google result to buy social media followers

Google result to buy social media followers

Photo: play / google

This scenario is back in the news with a Goalplatform owner Facebook, Instagram and WhatsAppin August of this year, against the Brazilian companies MGM Marketing Digital Ltda and Igoo Networks.

In a note on the company’s website, Meta’s legal director Jessica Romero said the motive was to identify services offered by these companies that sell fake likes from followers and views on Instagram, in violation of the platform’s terms of use. A practice known as “click farms”.

The ongoing lawsuits, according to Romero, also allege violations of Brazilian law, with those involved using unauthorized automation (the use of bots). Moreover, some services have requested login credentials from Instagram users.

This practice may violate the requirements General Personal Data Protection Law (General Data Protection Regulation). The law requires that there must be transparency, objective and legal basis (justification) for the processing of personal data. The principle of necessity must also always be respected, that is, only data that is absolutely necessary should be processed.

Fuel for lawsuits

Some terms of use Facebook he is from Instagram Which sparked Meta lawsuits saying that users may not use their products to cheat, act illegally, deceptively or fraudulently, or otherwise violate someone else’s rights (including using someone else’s content without proper permission). It is also banned on social networks Data collection for products using automated means, without prior permission from the platforms.

There is also a ban on creating fake accounts; collect information that the user should not have access to; or buy, sell or transfer accounts.

To ensure that the content people see on its platforms is authentic, Meta explains that it may remove content, restrict or delete accounts if the Terms or Community Guidelines are violated.

In a note sent to ByteMeta says it’s very important for interactions on Instagram and Facebook to be real, and in order to keep the community free from inauthentic behavior: “Fake sharing services, which artificially increase an account’s popularity by buying and selling, violate likes, comments, and followers.” Our Terms of Use, as well as attempts to buy, sell, or transfer any item from your account.”

Meta further states that it directs significant resources toward combating abuse on its platforms and, when detected, considers all viable options, including account suspension and removal. In some cases, they take legal action against those responsible.

Lack of transparency with buying followers can hurt Instagram influencers

Lack of transparency with buying followers can hurt Instagram influencers

Photo: Claudio Schwartz/Unsplash

‘Explicit’ credibility

We live in a society that craves transparency, says Patricia Beck, a lawyer who specializes in digital law. “The misrepresentation of reality, that is, the fabrication of a false reality, is unacceptable. In this way, anyone can gain fame and importance,” he says.

For a lawyer, a profile that buys many followers gains the ability to manipulate credibility, affecting the ethics and transparency of social networks. “Would we have the same opinion if we knew how many automatic likes and how many likes were bought? Will it influence public opinion? We cannot legalize deception.”

Elizabeth Saad, Professor at ECA-USP and Coordinator of the COM+ Research Group, alerts The importance of transparency in networks. “Click farms sell not just to influencers, but to agencies and even brands. Therefore, everyone needs to review their strategies to maintain credibility.”

More quality, less quantity

For Saad, the fact of following an influencer on the network with a large number of followers makes no difference: “What matters is sympathy, a sense of belonging to the huge volume of followers. The vast majority do not even read the post, because they are fascinated by the personality.”

Another related point highlighted by the teacher is that the brands seduced by follower size You don’t always appreciate the importance of associating an influencer profile with a product. “They hire celebrities who obviously don’t have that compatibility, but they focus on the undeniable power of their audience.”

There’s nothing new about this, says Edgar Rebucas, research coordinator at the National Network to Combat Disinformation (RNCD). “In the 1970s, Canadian scholar Dallas Smit wrote an essential text on the public as a commodity, contributing to building a political economy of communications,” he says.

Rebouças highlights that the goal of any communicator is to attract the public to attract business as sponsors and advertisers. “Products are baited to sell to the public. This is what happens in social networks in an influencer’s strategy. The more qualified they are, the more expensive they are.”

Experts believe there is light at the end of the tunnel. According to them, the current situation may change with the approval of the National Congress of the Fake News Act, which provides for the prohibition of the work of non-original accounts on networks. But they caution that discussions about ethics and credibility on social media to create a new culture are just beginning.

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