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Inside social media's black market which sells fake followers to Twitter users
A recent article published by the New York Times titled "The Follower Factory" is an expose on a dubious American company called Devumi which offers Twitter followers for sale to anyone who is willing to pay a price.

Devumi apparently sells fake Twitter followers and bots that automatically retweet celebrities, actors, politicians, social media 'influencers' or just about anyone with a swelled up wallet.

In today's materialistic world, just about everything is quantified, even the number of followers you have on Twitter has become a benchmark of how popular or successful you are.

Around the year 2012, having 10,000 followers on Twitter was considered as the cutoff point for assessing a social media user's popularity. However, cut to 2018, the floodgates have opened and now for a celebrity having any less than a million Twitter followers is considered lowbrow or tacky.

And why not? Records show that 330 million active users post 500 million tweets on Twitter every day. @RealDonaldTrump has 47.5 million followers. @KimKardashianWest has 58.5 million. Even the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi isn't far behind in the race as his official Twitter handle @PMOIndia today boasts of 24.6 million followers.

Shockingly, Devumi has around 200,000 clients (including actors, executives, TED speakers and sportspersons), who thrive upon this artificial popularity created by fake followers that have been bought for a price, according to the New York Times article.

A complete background check carried out by the New York Times revealed that Devumi's Manhattan address was fake and the founder's personal details available on LinkedIn were mostly fabricated. While it is claimed on LinkedIn that he has degrees from MIT and Princeton, both universities categorically denied it.

It's high time that social media platforms like Twitter step in and introduce stricter rules for creating social media accounts. As of today, you don't require a real identity to create an account on Twitter.

However, with regards to India, there shouldn't be a problem, as we Indians might soon be given the option of linking Aadhaar with our official Twitter account.

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