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Celebs and others buying clicks on social media

A quick Google search reveals seemingly countless websites which market the trade in bogus web activity

Published: Updated:

Celebrities, companies and even the U.S. State Department have purchased fake Facebook likes, Twitter followers and YouTube viewers from offshore “click farms,” where an army of staff manipulates web traffic to boost viewing numbers.

An investigation by the Associated Press revealed a large marketplace for fake clicks, driven by companies around the world eager to make the most of the social media concept.

AP discovered “click farm” workers in cities including Indonesia’s capital Jakarta and Bangladesh’s capital of Dhaka, furiously tapping away in an global industry thought to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

A quick Google search reveals seemingly countless websites which market the trade in bogus web activity, selling their services for less than one cent per click.

Paris-based news channel France 24 reported in October that the practice of buying fake clicks is rampant in India, where politicians seeking to appear to boost their popularity by buying a basic package of 2,500 Facebook likes – all for only $82.

Earlier this year, Rajasthan state's chief minister was found to have bought 60,000 bogus likes from Turkey.

While the practice of buying clicks does not usually violate any laws, buying and selling them is against the rules of social media networks.