A universal rule of life is that anything that has value will be faked or stolen. This happens everywhere on earth. You can go to some place on the fringe of civilization to see ruins of an ancient people and you will find some guy selling fake souvenirs. That’s because the locals figured out that authentic crap from their past had value to those funny looking white tourists, so they started faking the authentic relics from their past. Hobbyists in the collectible business will tell you that fakes are their primary concern.
Most likely, the reason that Facebook beat MySpace was that it was easier for Facebook users to keep score of the number of friends they had and see how that stacked up to others. Humans are social animals and one way to determine status is by the size of one’s social network. High status people have lots of friends and acquaintances. People know who they are by reputation. Therefore, someone on Facebook with 500 friends must be a bigger deal than someone with 5 friends. South Park made sport of this.
Inevitably, people found a way to fake their numbers so it would look like their status was high. Everyone knows about click farms that artificially inflate likes on social media or inflate follower counts. It’s fairly obvious that Facebook has been faking their ad numbers for years. This is mostly to defraud advertisers. Fringe celebrities will use services to inflate their follower counts. I’ve always suspected, for example, that Bill Mitchell is more “social media strategy” than actual listeners. Everything about him looks fake.
This story does a great job walking us through just how easy it is to be Bill Mitchell. Here are the juicy bits:
Instagram influencer marketing is now a $1 billion dollar industry, and you don’t need a cute dog or a book-worthy lifestyle to get into the game. According to an investigation by marketing agency Mediakix, anyone can fake their way into signing profitable contracts with brands.
The agency created two fictitious Instagram accounts: 1) ‘a lifestyle and fashion-centric Instagram model’ and 2) ‘a travel and adventure photographer.’ For the first account, Mediakix hired a model and generated the entire channel content through a one-day photo shoot. Introducing Alexa Rae (calibeachgirl310). The second account was dedicated to Amanda Smith (wanderingggirl), and this time Mediakix went even further. The entire feed was composed of free stock photos of random places across the world and blonde girls, always posing facing away from the camera.
After setting up fake personalities and generating their content, the agency started purchasing followers. “We started with buying 1,000 followers per day because we were concerned that purchasing too many followers at the onset would result in Instagram flagging the account,” Mediakix stated. “However, we quickly found that we were able to buy up to 15,000 followers at a time without encountering any issues.” And how much does this army cost? Between $3-$8 per 1,000.
Essentially, if the followers don’t like or comment on posts, they’re kind of worthless. So the next step was to purchase fake engagement. “Once we had accumulated a few thousand followers for each account, we started buying likes and comments.” Mediakix paid about 12 cents per comment, and between $4-9 per 1,000 likes. For each photo, they purchased 500 to 2,500 likes and 10 to 50 comments. The entire experiment ended up costing Mediakix about $1,000 (around $700 for setting up calibeachgirl310 and around $300 for wanderingggirl). After calibeachgirl310 and wanderingggirl reached 10,000 followers (the threshold amount for signing up on most influencer marketing platforms), Mediakix started applying them for sponsorship deals. “We secured four paid brand deals total, two for each account. The fashion account secured one deal with a swimsuit company and one with a national food and beverage company.” “The travel account secured brand deals with an alcohol brand and the same national food and beverage company. For each campaign, the “influencers” were offered monetary compensation, free product, or both.”
The whole thing is worth a read. Not a lot of it is new to those with a suspicious mind, but when you put it all together in one article like that, it is revelatory. If they could so easily create a fake celebrity on social media, then the people who control social media certainly know this. More important, they know this and use it to their advantage. For example, when a TV person signs up for Twitter, maybe their follower count is artificially inflated by Team Twitter, so that the celeb talks about it to their audience.
Of course, we have the extreme examples of the ruling class de-platforming anyone who challenges the one true faith on Facebook and Twitter. I had the Facebook account associated with this blog deleted due to a mysterious terms of service violation. Carl Benjamin, Sargon of Akkad, had his Twitter feed deleted because he made barren spinsters sad on YouTube. There are hundreds of examples of the scolds slamming the door on dissent. That’s what we can easily see.
You can be sure that the vinegar drinking scolds at Facebook and Twitter are using their robot armies to promote the cat ladies and demote the hate thinkers. People have noticed for a long time that they are mysteriously dropped from follower lists of people placed on the Left’s proscribed list. To do the opposite and promote Lefty crackpots is so obvious that even the most hysterical social justice warrior would think of it. How much of it goes on is hard to know, but the sky is the limit, as was made clear in that piece.
What is not so obvious is that other side of it, the fakery. The ease with which mass media is used to promote fake ideas, fake events and fake people. That’s not so obvious as no one complains about their follower count being inflated. No one is going to look too closely at Bill Mitchell’s twitter followers, because he is a harmless old man keeping himself busy in his retirement. The cumulative effect, however, of so much fakery in the mass media is not without its consequences. The fake new phenomenon is just one obvious example.
What happens when people start to think that Twitter and Facebook are mostly robots interacting with one another? Social trust has a value. Take it away and it can only be replaced by coercion. Otherwise, society begins to dis-aggregate. We know that diversity increases intra-ethnic trust and decreases inter-ethnic trust. In a diverse society, people trust their kin and distrust those not like them. Take that diverse society and immerse it in fake news and fake social media and the result will be a Balkanized, low-trust society.
Of course, one could argue that the strong arm tactics we’re seeing is the the inevitable result of diversity. The reason Google has to fire their smart men is their mere presence calls into the question the diversity project. The reason for the heavy handed social media policing is that diversity requires it. Fake news and fake social media are just modern incarnations of the old propaganda films from the previous era, just updated to make people think distrusting foreigners and rooting for your own team is weird and unnatural.
Regardless of cause and effect, this will not end well.
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