The purchase and sale of Twitter followers, Facebook likes, retweets and all kinds of interactions to artificially inflate social media numbers in the form of clicking on social networks is nowadays within the reach of anyone.
Online PR News – 02-March-2014 – New York – If until now, we have always said that the number of fans or followers of a brand was not indicative of anything, given that they could have been easily purchased in large quantities at a ridiculously starting low price of 500 Twitter followers for 5 dollars, it is with sadness we note that the interactions in the different social media networks are not a true reflection of the engagement of the users with such brands.
According to The Los Angeles Times, the purchase of Facebook likes, Twitter retweets and Twitter followers and all kinds of interactions in the form of click in social networks is within the reach of anyone. The strong temptation has made recognized celebrities, brands with prestige, and even the government of the United States to fall into this sad practice. In this regard, MailOnline stated in October that the president of the United States, Barack Obama had 19.5 million followers in Twitter false; a large part of the 4.8 million that was at the time of the analysis.
The catalog of services of these organizations created up around the fake clicks includes from the traditional Facebook likes, Instagram followers, Retweets, Pinterest followers and even views in YouTube. A situation that Imel Seda, CEO of Social Media Combo, has explained like a boon of companies that commercialize with large volumes of false interactions on an international scale.
In April the New York Times published the study carried out by Andrea Stroppa and Carlo De Micheli, who felt that the sale of fake followers in Twitter could have reported between 40 and $360 million dollars to date; while the income from this type of false interactions on Facebook is estimated at around $200 million dollars per of the year.
This situation has led to an open war between Facebook and Twitter against fake bots in their social networks. Already last December YouTube deleted millions of views from hundreds of music videos, after evidence that some of them were with astronomical figures of views. For its part, Facebook says that they periodically review the accounts of their registered users, in order to detect fraudulent profiles and be faithful to its principles, based on creating a network of people created for real people.
Stroppa and Carlo de Michelli estimate that there are more than 20 million fake Twitter accounts, which are available to those who want to buy them. Facebook and Twitter have accepted that it has become more complicated to detect them, even though they both have technical and human means specifically dedicated to this. In any case, the fact of having an enormous amount of ghost followers really doesn't benefit anything to the brand, since it doesn't generate an active community around the brand, one of the main aims of the Social Media. Jim Prosser, spokesman for Twitter not only completely discouraged this type of practices, but it warns companies that investing on fake followers can make one lose its account, and thus their money and their followers.
With these results, we cannot avoid stopping and think about the real effectiveness of the social networks to reach the targeted audience and get their treatment of favor. If brands can participate in the sale of Twitter followers, false website hits and fake Facebook likes, how are we going to rely on them? The basis of engagement lies not in the numbers, but in the activity. The fact that the company is displayed in the active social networks, to provide useful content and value, and that of course proves that it is there every time one needs it. These have to be their differential values, and the reasons that lead to its target audience to want to stay on their side. The numbers, as we have seen, can be only smoke and ghosts.
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