Whoever said you can’t buy friends was dead wrong. Dozens of outfits are dedicated to making insecure weirdos with cash to burn look more popular than they are. These companies create fake users and even pay real account holders for following and liking. Social media giants must constantly tweak their algorithms to spot frauds.
Price Of Popularity: On socialyup.com, you can buy 500 likes for $30 or 20,000 for $699.
Spot The Frauds: Watch for accounts with lots of likes but very little discernible user activity. A page with tens of thousands of fans but only a few comments and nobody in the “Talking About This” column is a prime suspect. One study says 97 per cent of fake profiles identify themselves as female (while just 40 per cent of real users do).
Price Of Popularity: Pinfol delivers 100 followers for $15; 5,000 for $95.
Spot The Frauds: Scroll through a user’s followers list and keep an eye out for a high proportion of accounts with no bio or photo.
Price Of Popularity: FanMeNow’s packages start at $10 for 1,000 followers. $1,750 will score you a million.
Spot The Frauds: Promotional tweets and the default “egg” avatar are hallmarks of phoney accounts. Fake Follower Check is a free web tool that measures a user’s followers against typical characteristics of spam accounts.
Price Of Popularity: 500views.com delivers 30,000 views for $150. For $3,100, make your video “viral” with a million views.
Spot The Frauds: Beware of generic comments. One music clip we saw racked up tens of thousands of views in weeks, but the only comments were variations on “This video is great!”