A “click farm” is where fake ratings and rankings for mobile apps and social media posts are manipulated. If you’re a regular app or game user, then you’d know how ratings may affect what you download – and rankings are BIG business.
Click farms are nothing new, but recently, footage of a click farm in China with 10,000 handsets prompted new interest in this industry.
The way it works is no surprise – to get likes and reviews of mobile apps to make them appealing, workers relentlessly manipulate App Store rankings by downloading, installing, and then uninstalling apps over and over again to bump up its rankings. And then write BS reviews about them.
This business is not a secret: popular Chinese e-commerce sites even have shameless ads for “App Store ranking manipulation” services.
Experts say much of the current digital manipulation is carried out in China and Russia but their influence is felt worldwide. Companies pay tens of thousands of dollars to get likes for their products, so you can imagine the popularity of these click farms.
The scam isn’t just for reviews; remember how social media accounts used to buy ‘likes’? Click farms ensure these social media accounts go viral so that they attract hits and bring in advertising opportunities. This used to be big on Facebook, but it seems that these days it’s moved onto Instagram.
Recently, a bot called Instagress, which comments and likes on accounts to gain more coverage, was shut down.