Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra to be questioned by Mumbai police and Virat Kohli is also under the scanner
Virat Kohli, Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone among the celebrities to be questioned by the special cell constituted by the Mumbai Police in regards to the fake social media followers case.
A special team from the Crime Branch and Cyber Police Department of Mumbai police has been constituted to look into the matter. The SIT team has found out over 100 companies that are involved in selling fake social media followers. Along with it, the team has identified 68 companies that offer fake social media activities like retweets, likes, views, and subscriptions.
A report has been released by the institute of music regarding the number of fake followers of the celebrities. As per the recent report from the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance (ICMP) revealed that several celebrities, who also happen to be big influencers have a large number of fake followers on platforms such as Instagram. For instance, chat show host Ellen DeGeneres’s 58% followers are fake, said the study, followed by Kourtney Kardashian at 49%, Kim Kardashian (44%), Khloe Kardashian (44%), among others.
The issue here is related to the amount charged by these celebrities for a single post. Priyanka charges $271,000 per post and Virat Kohli charges $196,000 per post. According to industry estimates influencer marketing is expected to reach the $6.5 billion, mark by the end of this year. The market was pegged at $4.6 billion in 2018.
Buying followers for Instagram is not a difficult task. In fact, this has turned into a global menace as influencers on several occasions have been involved in creating fake trends with the help of these bots, hence shaping a pre-conceived or a biased public opinion and maybe even indirectly causing the hate crimes against the vulnerable groups.
Though there have been crackdowns on companies providing fake followers at cheap rates, more action should be taken by the platforms to stop this activity. Some experts pointed out that the responsibility to weed out fake following or attribution lies most with social media such as Instagram and Twitter. These platforms, over the years, have taken considerable steps to weed out bots following.
In recent years, Twitter has also cracked down on fake accounts on their website and has removed them which led to massive fall in the number of followers of famous Twitter users including the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
This has also raised questions about the authenticity of the actual reach and the actual number of followers of almost all the accounts of the social media networks. This investigation has brought the long-feared form of the social media networks ie fake influencers meddling with the mind of the general public and causing a nuisance in the society.
This investigation might bring answers to various questions that we all are asking as of now, out of which the most important one is why? Why would these celebrities, whom the general public love and believe, invest so much in bots?
The recent trend of buying and selling follower bots have also created a menace for the advertising firms and they invest a hefty sum of money in advertising later to find out that most of the followers or the accounts that saw the post or advertisement were a bot.
This raises an alarm for the social media organisations that they need to invest in their security and bot detection program to make their platform more authentic and secure for the general public.