Click Farms getting outed

We have covered click farming here at WOBH, especially with the Pakeha Party and the daughter of Brian Tamaki, Jasmine McPhee. Both had quickly garnered Facebook likes in an unnatural time frame.

The Guardian looks into the phenomenon of “click farming”.

How much do you like courgettes? According to one Facebook page devoted to them, hundreds of people find them delightful enough to click the “like” button – even with dozens of other pages about courgettes to choose from.

There’s just one problem: the liking was fake, done by a team of low-paid workers in Dhaka, Bangladesh, whose boss demanded just $15 per thousand “likes” at his “click farm”. Workers punching the keys might be on a three-shift system, and be paid as little as $120 a year.

The ease with which a humble vegetable could win approval calls into question the basis on which many modern companies measure success online – through Facebook likes, YouTube video views and Twitter followers.  

Channel 4’s Dispatches programme will on Monday reveal the extent to which click farms risk eroding user confidence in what had looked like an objective measure of social online approval.

The disclosures could hurt Facebook as it tries to persuade firms away from advertising on Google and to use its own targeted advertising, and to chase likes as a measure of approval.

That particular Facebook page on courgettes was set up by the programme makers to demonstrate how click farms can give web properties spurious popularity.

“There’s a real desire amongst many companies to boost their profile on social media, and find other customers as well as a result,” said Graham Cluley, an independent security consultant.

The importance of likes is considerable with consumers: 31% will check ratings and reviews, including likes and Twitter followers, before they choose to buy something, research suggests. That means click farms could play a significant role in potentially misleading consumers.

This will hurt Facebook…but stopping it could prove difficult, meanwhile any group, company or new online presence that has a sudden surge of Facebook likes is probably buying their likes.

Be wary when you see news reports about such and such obtaining 15,000 in just a few hours or a few days since launching.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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