In today’s world, the success of a person is measured by the number of followers and likes they have. In every field, who is better and who is not, is judged by their social media presence and people following them.
It is no surprise that in such a world where talent is judged by the number of followers, more and more people are paying to get fake followers and likes.
What started with a complaint of impersonation by a singer named Bhoomi Trivedi led the police to the racket of fake followers in India.
A Look Into The Fake Follower Market
In the thriving market of fake followers, creating a profile, building a large base of followers, and then selling that profile to the highest bidder is a part of the business. Or simply monetising the account by brand endorsements and collaborations.
Followers are sold at Rs 100 for 100 followers without guarantee, or Rs 150 for guaranteed followers. A thousand real likes are sold for Rs 169, or a thousand likes per minute for Rs 220, as per a report by the Times Of India.
Apart from celebrities showing off their fan base, this market is also fuelled by the rising number of influencers on social media. Influencers, in a nutshell, are people with a large base of followers. Brands use these influencers to endorse their products and influence others to buy it.
With the popularity of influencers on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Snapchat, influencers can turn their followers into money-generating machines by endorsing brands.
Influencers buy fake followers and likes to get on the radar of companies that curate brand endorsements.
Even before the influencer culture, this market was thriving on Twitter. Fake followers have been used to make a tweet famous or to increase the popularity of a person. According to CNBC, approximately 48 million accounts on Twitter were fake in 2017. The number will be much higher now.
These fake accounts are run by bots. A bot is a software that runs automatically without human interference and is capable of imitating human behaviours.
In an analysis conducted by the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance (ICMP) in 2019, Priyanka Chopra Jonas had 46 percent of fake followers, while Deepika had 48 percent of fake followers. With 58 percent of fake followers, the famous talk show host Ellen DeGeneres topped the list.
Also Read: SIT Created By Mumbai Police To Probe Fake Followers Scam, Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra To Be Questioned
What Laws We Have Against Fake Accounts
According to the recent investigation by the special investigation team (SIT), at least 54 companies in India are engaged in the business of creating fake profiles and selling fake followers and likes.
Although there is no such law for cases that only involve buying and selling of fake accounts, there are laws for impersonation.
Sections 415 (cheating), 499 (defamation), and 416 (cheating by person) of the Indian Penal Code deal with impersonation.
The section 66D of IT Act states- “Whoever, by means of any communication device or computer resource cheats by personation, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend up to three years and shall also be liable to a fine which may extend up to one lakh rupees.”
This was a much-needed eye-opener considering how people constantly compare their growth to someone else and get demotivated.
What do you think about this growing dependence on likes and followers? Do tell us in the comment section below.
Image credits: Google Images
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