Dec 18, 2013
‘Likes’ Are Not Sure Indicators of Popularity or Quality
Posted on Aug 8, 2013
Huge numbers of “likes” appearing on social networking sites such as Facebook have been found to originate in “click farms” in places like Dhaka, Bangladesh, where low-paid workers spend long hours punching keys to artificially inflate the online popularity of client companies.
Hired clickers can be paid as little as $120 per year for laboring over “screens in dingy rooms facing a blank wall, with windows covered by bars, and sometimes working through the night,” Guardian technology editor Charles Arthur reports.
The ease with which humble products and non-attractions (thanks to click farms, hundreds of people appear to love zucchinis enough to “like” them on Facebook, Arthur writes) can “win approval calls into question the basis on which many modern companies measure success online—through Facebook likes, YouTube video views and Twitter followers” and undercuts “what had looked like an objective measure of social online approval.”
Workers can earn as little as a single U.S. dollar for generating 1,000 likes or following 1,000 people on Twitter. And Internet users are justified in being suspicious of the merit of a site, personality or product that appears to be getting a lot of attention.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
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