Let me disclose something to you. I spent two years of my life infiltrating social media communities to literally find out what these kids were up to.
This column is going to be about what I’ve found in this investigation. It will focus on the social media platform Instagram, for simplicity. Are you ready for this? Here we go.
Kids and others are “faking,” or shall we say cheating, their way into fame. There are systems out there that can give “immediate fame” to those who are willing to buy it.
Let me give you an example. I’ve met at least 100 people in social media who are using the app “autolike,” and celebrating the fact that their accounts now receive thousands of purportedly legitimate “likes” per post. This app gives some people in social media the impression of being popular without having the “popularity” they’re seeking.
How do I know it works, or is real? Because I’ve tried it with my account a number of times to test this thing. It is real. It works.
Be very careful with what you see out there. I say this because, honestly, all this technology has made me distrust what I personally see online. People are faking everywhere.
Conglomerates are forming to collaborate on spamming techniques. Yes, you heard that right. People are getting together to engage in spamming to grow their accounts and make themselves more popular.
DM groups, as direct messaging communities are referred to, are now being used extensively by millions of accounts on Instagram, in order to trick the system’s algorithm into believing that these spam accounts are more populated than they are.
These communities meet six times a day, under different names, and possess a wide variety of characteristics that you must meet in order to join them. They operate on a kind of “The more, the better” mindset.
Do you have a 100K fake follower account? We want you! Jeez, this is the reality out there, fellas. Organized spamming happens on Facebook, Telegram and many other public applications. How do I know it works? You know it, right? I joined them and played with their systems. Does it work? Oh yeah.
Secrecy is at an all-time high online. The good stuff is only being shared by a few. Nobody wants these secrets to be revealed in great detail, and most want you to be clueless about it.
Why? Well, because they can say to you, “I can make you go viral! Give me $150 a month and I will make this work for you.” The more ignorant you are about this new stuff we call social media, the better for them.
There are millions of people making a living with this garbage, I must add. Some are even making a living writing books about this stuff. How do I know this? I bought a “secrets” book for $19.95. It was all there. I mean, the main ideas.
Before I forget, let me tell you about an app that reveals the amount of fake followers an Instagram account has, and also provides the expected likes and comments an account should have. It is called IG audit. Inflated numbers of likes and comments against the expected value of engagement, as we say, indicate participation in these suspect activities I’ve just mentioned.
This is also what I’ve found out in my quest to better understand the social media community. A degree of “fake” is expected – and considered acceptable – by these groups, because the “like factor” tends to generate more likes. Let me put this another way: The more popular someone appears to be tends to result in more social media site or platform visitors thinking that these posters are indeed popular. I know, it is weird. It actually reminds me of how life is in Brazil. It is all about rumors. It really is an “If it appears to be, then it must be,” type of thing.
There are too many communities forming out there to make them appear popular/likable to you. Question them first before accepting the information at face value. Chances are very high that their accounts are being inflated.
Like anything in life, it takes time to build anything of value. Social media is no different. False (or “fake”) information, group spam and secrecy are running wild in cyberspace.
Here is my advice to you: Doubt first, before believing what you see in these social media communities.
(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at luiscalmeida.info.)