Footage Shows a Click Farm in Action

AlphaAtlas

[H]ard|Gawd
Staff member
Joined
Mar 3, 2018
Messages
1,713
Anyone who spends time online has probably heard of, and run into, websites and social media posts that are clearly being promoted by bots. But just what do those bots look like on the other end? While I expected to see rackmount servers spoofing various devices en masse, according to a post from Tom-James Lee, CEO at Vagabond Digital, some of those "click farms" are literally giant banks of smartphones.

Check out the video here.

This is scary... A click farm in full flow. Most probably these programmatically controlled devices are liking, engaging and clicking on social media posts, pages and ads trying to trick algorithms. You hear about it happening but it's scary to see it in action as it can be seriously detrimental to digital and social marketing for businesses and brands everywhere. Keen to get everyone's thoughts?
 

zkostik

Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
929
Anyone who spends time online has probably heard of, and run into, websites and social media posts that are clearly being promoted by bots. But just what do those bots look like on the other end? While I expected to see rackmount servers spoofing various devices en masse, according to a post from Tom-James Lee, CEO at Vagabond Digital, some of those "click farms" are literally giant banks of smartphones.

Check out the video here.

This is scary... A click farm in full flow. Most probably these programmatically controlled devices are liking, engaging and clicking on social media posts, pages and ads trying to trick algorithms. You hear about it happening but it's scary to see it in action as it can be seriously detrimental to digital and social marketing for businesses and brands everywhere. Keen to get everyone's thoughts?
I wonder if they use VPN on top of physical hardware, otherwise it wouldn't be too hard to see that all this business is coming from same IP/location. Also just kind of shows how stupid the whole like idea is. Reminds me of back in the old says where advertisers paid per click or impression so popular were scripts that will reload pages and such.
 

NickJames

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Apr 28, 2009
Messages
6,673
I wonder if they use VPN on top of physical hardware, otherwise it wouldn't be too hard to see that all this business is coming from same IP/location. Also just kind of shows how stupid the whole like idea is. Reminds me of back in the old says where advertisers paid per click or impression so popular were scripts that will reload pages and such.
Good old days, I got so much free shit from Microsoft when Bing had that feature. Ended up with 3 OG Zune's with all the accessories and a couple of Xbox 360 controllers.
 

Armenius

Fully [H]
Joined
Jan 28, 2014
Messages
22,822
This is why you see brand new Instagram accounts with 1 post have like 10,000 followers. People pay these kinds of places to artificially generate an online following.
 

Mchart

2[H]4U
Joined
Aug 7, 2004
Messages
3,907
This is why I no longer have any social media accounts, including twitter, linked in. Any of that shit.
Yup. When I first realized a few years ago how easy stuff like this was, and how bots can largely generate all sorts of stuff that isn't real on social media platforms - I deleted everything. It's almost all fake, and the scary part is that it's crafted to sway people different directions.
 

Oldmodder

Gawd
Joined
Aug 24, 2018
Messages
706
The real influencers.

Number of things / people i follow = 0
Number of interesting things i have bookmarked = a few
Things i really try my best to do = not use like buttons on pages.
 
Last edited:

BloodyIron

2[H]4U
Joined
Jul 11, 2005
Messages
3,439
Each one could have their own SIM with data, each would have their own unique IP.

Not enough precision of location could be made available to websites to see they are in the same room, they could only reasonably see they may be in the same City, or sometimes even less than that. And that might not even be accurate info due to how ARIN records and routing works. (Some IP ranges are registered in locations they aren't actually used).

I wonder if they use VPN on top of physical hardware, otherwise it wouldn't be too hard to see that all this business is coming from same IP/location. Also just kind of shows how stupid the whole like idea is. Reminds me of back in the old says where advertisers paid per click or impression so popular were scripts that will reload pages and such.
 

Megaslug

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 30, 2015
Messages
173
I wonder if they use VPN on top of physical hardware, otherwise it wouldn't be too hard to see that all this business is coming from same IP/location. Also just kind of shows how stupid the whole like idea is. Reminds me of back in the old says where advertisers paid per click or impression so popular were scripts that will reload pages and such.
Oh it can - Dave Jones at EEVBlog on YouTube has done a couple of videos on the subject of pair for likes and dislikes, using examples where it has happened to him, and the YouTube analytics shows large masses of the dislikes coming from certain areas such as Vietnam, and compared to his typical worldwide audience distribution, far in excess of the normal distribution of his audience. SO very obvious that it was paid-for fake dislikes - IF you bother to look. But most people don't know how, or just don't care, to actually see if the data they are being fed is valid or not, they just see thousands of dislikes and just keep right on surfing and missing the content, which is this case was debunking an absolutely worthless product hawked on Indiegogo. That was a year ago, maybe they've now figured out how to use VPNs to hide the location.
 

Wiffle

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 2, 2011
Messages
292
LOL keep up the good work... I said it long ago, we are creating a giant brain through the internet of things.

Imagine each device as being a single neuron in a brain. A human brain has about 100 billion neurons in it.

There are approximately 26 billion devices connected to the internet today, estimates say their will be about 75 billion by 2025...

The internet is one giant brain, and it will rule us all...

That's my tinfoil hat idea of the day :LOL:


On serious note, paid for advertising in general needs to die a horrible fiery death. It only favors those who throw money at it, and causes actual good products to suffer.

Nobody in their right minds would pay to see a shit show, but if I spend a million dollars in advertising and convince 1 million people to spend 10$ to see this "Spectacular Show of Shits!!!" then I have literally profited off of a golden turd. We see examples of this every day, its called the "Entertainment Industry."
 

horskh

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 19, 2018
Messages
134
This seems really power hungry. Wouldn't a server with VMs use less power? I don't think the screen needs to be on. It also seems more expensive to buy all of these phones instead of a dedicated server.
 

oROEchimaru

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jun 1, 2004
Messages
4,662
wait till the chinese quantum computers start doing this in mass to persuade public opinion and control social issues/unrest . They already have 60k + internet police.
 

Jim Robbins

Weaksauce
Joined
Oct 9, 2006
Messages
117
(singing) When I think about you, I click-farm myself...

But seriously, I think I'd just rather pay for ad-less services instead of using all the free junk... It's extremely rare I buy anything from an ad anyway.
 

zkostik

Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
929
Oh it can - Dave Jones at EEVBlog on YouTube has done a couple of videos on the subject of pair for likes and dislikes, using examples where it has happened to him, and the YouTube analytics shows large masses of the dislikes coming from certain areas such as Vietnam, and compared to his typical worldwide audience distribution, far in excess of the normal distribution of his audience. SO very obvious that it was paid-for fake dislikes - IF you bother to look. But most people don't know how, or just don't care, to actually see if the data they are being fed is valid or not, they just see thousands of dislikes and just keep right on surfing and missing the content, which is this case was debunking an absolutely worthless product hawked on Indiegogo. That was a year ago, maybe they've now figured out how to use VPNs to hide the location.
Interesting, I love watching EEVBlog and will have to look this one up. Regarding likes and such, I honestly never cared or took them for anything. I hardly even take reviews into consideration unless they are really written out with details and I still research elsewhere. Someone mentioned using cell phone data but that will still put you into same geolocation. I guess having some kind of VPN is probably the way to go but possibly many sites just don't give a damn.
 

Zarathustra[H]

Fully [H]
Joined
Oct 29, 2000
Messages
30,410
This is scary... A click farm in full flow. Most probably these programmatically controlled devices are liking, engaging and clicking on social media posts, pages and ads trying to trick algorithms. You hear about it happening but it's scary to see it in action as it can be seriously detrimental to digital and social marketing for businesses and brands everywhere. Keen to get everyone's thoughts?
I couldn't give a rats ass about businesses and brands marketing efforts. Heck, I'd run something like this just to throw those bastards off. Fuck those data collecting swine!
 

HAL_404

Gawd
Joined
Dec 16, 2018
Messages
961
Its crazy how cheap this kind of labor is in other countries. You can literally create an army of followers to jump start anything on the internet these days.
it's not called the worldwide WEB for nothing :cautious:
 

Skull_Angel

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
May 31, 2010
Messages
1,604
Simple solution, quit monitoring social media's basic values (likes and number of comments) for popularity trends and stick to advertising, monitoring trending news, and thousands of reviews for criticisms (hire people talented in product marketing and development research rather than rely on bots that can be more easily fooled).
 

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,133
This kind of activity should be considered fraud and prosecuted as such.
 

Meeho

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Aug 16, 2010
Messages
4,982
You hear about it happening but it's scary to see it in action as it can be seriously detrimental to digital and social marketing for businesses and brands everywhere.
This breaks my weeping heart.
 

DNMock

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 16, 2015
Messages
399
wait till the chinese quantum computers start doing this in mass to persuade public opinion and control social issues/unrest . They already have 60k + internet police.
What's horrible is I can absolutely see the world's first true quantum computer (sans my tinfoil theory that the gov't already has several up and running that are classified) being utilized for realistically liking and disliking social media garbage.

edit: I would have to imagine the U.S., if they haven't already, will be the first to completing a quantum computer for such a purpose. I wonder how mucked up the Chinese social point system will get merc'ed by it?
 

N4CR

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Oct 17, 2011
Messages
4,688
Holy shitsnacks. So this is how public sentiment changes.
Social media is very 'organic' these days. Bot armies are everywhere too but they are easily defeated if you pay attention.
They tried this big time in NZ recently, massive psyops going on there, can't have an armed populace if you want to be really nasty to them ;)
 
Top