With the social media craze that has taken over our generation, comes a lot of new issues that people haven’t had to deal with before. We have all heard of people “buying” their followers on social media but did you know how common this phenomenon actually was? The New York times recently wrote an article all about how well known influencers and celebrities have bought their followers off of this website called Devumi.
When researching this website I found their mission statement that read, “ Unique Social Media Marketing company committed to the goal of increasing your social media presence and credibility with guaranteed results.”
Now you could be thinking to yourself, well this isn’t a big deal. Whats the problem with that? Many issues actually rise due to this new information that the new york times found.
One of those issues being that Devumi actually creates fake social media accounts that are run by robots but have the face of real users on social media. For example, take Jessica Rychly, who the new york times describes as the girl who’s “social media identity was stolen by a Twitter Bot when she was in highschool.” The website created a total duplicate of Jessica’s twitter, bio and all, but would tweet and retweet provocative websites and write very strange tweets all while following millions of random people. This in turn could ruin her reputation.
Another issue rises when The Times found the amount of influencers who have bought these fake followers. An influencers job is revolved by the amount of followers he or she has. Based on that amount, different companies will send them clothing and pay them for just posting a picture with their item. Not only is this fraud but this is completely deceitful to all of the influencers actual real followers as well.
Marcus Holmund was a victim of Devumi and all of the pressures of the social media world. He first landed a job with the infamous modeling agency Wilhelmina Models, working on the social media team. When he joined and the follower ratio on their social media accounts became stagnant, his job was threatened. In pressure to save his career he bought a ton of followers from the website. Holmund states to The Times, “I felt stuck with the threat of being fired, or worse, never working in the fashion industry again. Since then, I tell everyone and anyone who ever asks that it’s a total scam. It wont boost their management.”
Throughout the article they expose a multitude of issues with the website, along with a bunch of names of celebrities and politicians who have used the website for themselves. When the Times asked why they had all used the website, many did not comment or stated they too felt the pressure of the social media world. You can read the full article here https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/01/27/technology/social-media-bots.html
Have we come to a place in the world where we must buy our social media followers in order to feel complete? What message does this send to the young children that are following and looking up to these names?