Buying Friends and Influence Online

Social Media BotsNick Bolton wrote an article for the New York Times about purchasing online followers on various social media. I found it interesting and, hopefully you will too.

There are several services that allow social media users to buy bots, which can make celebrities appear more popular and even influence political agendas. Whoever said, “Money can’t buy you friends,” clearly hasn’t been on the Internet recently.

Nick recounted a story where he bought 4,000 new followers on Twitter and 4,000 friends on Facebook for $5.00. For a few dollars more, arranged for half of his new followers “Like” an uploaded photo.

He said that for $3,700.00 he could have made one million new friends on Instagram and for an extra $40.00, 10,000 of them would have liked one of his sunset photos. Retweets, Likes, Favorites, Comments, Upvotes, Page views, and you name it are for sale.

The Bots that achieve this create friends outside the United States, mostly in India, Bangladesh, Romania and Russia. These bots are merely lines of computer code, but were built to behave like people on social media sites. There are millions of these bots that share photos, laugh out loud (LOL!) and even engage in conversations with each other.

A confidential source says his company is using artificial intelligence and other digital maneuvers to stay ahead of the bot hunters at big Internet companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter, which aggressively try to eradicate bots from their sites. Sometimes it works for a while. Bots act like people by acquiring information from real users, including avatars, pictures and other conversations. With all of these tricks, they appear to “emulate human behavior.”

Bot clients want to seem more popular than they really are. For now, these bots are simply deceptive, tricking people into thinking something is popular or pushing an agenda. But as bots become more sophisticated, they could become nastier.

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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