NEW YORK - We've all had the reaction of judging content and individuals by their number of followers and likes and not by their substance. Surprise, surprise--in the world of social media, many followers and likes aren't real. Not only is fake social media following still a thing, it is big business.
A company called Devumi can get you millions of fake views, followers, and likes on everything from Twitter (with plans beginning at $10) to YouTube (with plans that begin at $17). Even on SoundCloud, you can get a million plays with likes and reposts included. Devumi promises followers will even "look authentic!" and not look like bots, which are profiles created with stolen identities and pictures from real people like you and me.
Even big names like Clay Aiken, Kathy Ireland, and "Shark Tank" judge Lori Greiner have been buying fake followers, according to a New York Times report. After the report, Mark Cuban weighed in, saying it is time for Twitter and Facebook to stomp out the fakes.
Now New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said his office will investigate Devumi. We tried to reach the company but our repeated calls had no way of getting a real person on the line. So we went to the listed address on 7th Avenue in New York City. Security told us no company named Devumi is in the directory.
Devumi is only one of the countless companies using bots to sell fake social media popularity, making money, many say, at the expense of honest people who truly deserve attention.
This comes down to economics. Experts say that if social media companies start losing money because of these tactics then they'll do something about it. But right now they're not losing money.