News Archive

The False Followers

  • This is how agencies, artists and politicians increase their traffic on Social Networks

Frequently on Facebook, but also on the other Social Networks, we can observe posts that register an impressive number of interactions from the followers: thousands of “Like”, dozens of shares and hundreds of comments. All of this maybe, only few minutes after the publication of the post: frequently neither after an hour we observe thousands of actions from followers, and it seems like they remain quiet waiting the publication of a news, to then rock out and make the post viral. However sometimes, if we check carefully the followers’ profiles, many of them do not contains complete information, sometimes they neither have a photo, but only some essential data.

The spontaneous questions that arises is: “are they real followers, or many of the interactions that we see come from false profiles, often specifically exploited?” The answer as simple as obvious: frequently, great part of the “Likes”, shares or other social actions (as retweets) on renowned pages are fakes.

The last notable case came to the fore is that of an Italian region that spending considerable sums increased the number of "Likes" on his Facebook page more than tenfold in less than a month. Likes grew from less than 5,000 to nearly 60,000. An amazing progress, which numbers cannot make doubts raise in every expert of web marketing. A piloted policy of social growth, not even hidden by its promoters, that justify themselves saying that Facebook is nowadays fundamental, and also the region has the necessity to be clearly visible on social spaces.

However this is not the first time that a page on any social network, relies on so-called "Like Experts" to increase the number of fans and interactions. In a recent interview some of these alleged "professionals" reveal that their job is literally selling packages of "like", participation in events, post shares or any other action, to anyone who requests it: emerging artists or singers, small businesses, in short anyone who wants greater visibility. They admit to not be the only ones in this field, and that there is much more demand than anyone might think.

There are specialized networks (of course undisclosed) that deal with this, sometimes even creating fake profiles with programs, sometimes persuading the user to put the "like" with embedded scripts (e.g. you close a pop-up and simultaneously, without knowing it , like you're putting a like on a post). All of this is done to increase the visibility of their posts, to create a "towing" effect: people are much more tempted to share a message that seems popular, or go to an event where there will be many people. In addition, it influences in a certain way also the perception people have of owner of the page. E.g. a singer, also unknown, with thousands of followers will surely get greater consensus even among real users, compared to one whose page has few tens of fans. Another example, according to these agencies, are the politicians; many pay for increasing the shares of posts where they expose a certain idea, creating among the people the belief that, if many users follow that person, then what he says is right.

Apart from the legitimacy of this conduct and the transparency of these operations (thousands of fake contacts are often generated in foreign countries, by hackers that bypass the Facebook spam), is appropriate to ask what might be the consequences of these policies of accelerated social growth. Without any doubt this actions erase the basic concept of network, that is transparency. If the user knows he cannot trust many of the pages he visits and great part of what he sees on social spaces, this increases its mistrust of the reliability of these instruments, with potential consequences even for legitimate businesses, that get notable results through effective optimization policies.

Gain visibility only with simple tricks just hurts users and ensures a "following group" that's fake and not useful for any real marketing strategy. This situation, once again shows the importance of relying on proven marketing professionals, able not only to ensure maximum transparency in the operations, but also to ensure real and genuinely interested followers, wthat you can use as target to implement marketing campaigns of proven efficiency.

E-Business Consulting can create appropriate campaigns on social, optimizing contents without creating fake and low professional profiles, that in the long run become dangerous operational boomerang.


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