Paying for online likes

Paying for online likes

Want to be liked or win support for a cause or a petition?

Go online and you can get 1,000 likes on your Facebook page for as little as US$15 (S$18), claim several websites.

This practice, used by marketing companies and individuals wishing to generate online buzz for their products by buying "likes" and "support", has now evolved into people buying support for political and social causes.

In July, political rivals accused Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot in India of buying a Facebook following from Turkey, reported Indian media.

His rivals said he had bought the "likes" from a Turkish tech team and said the more than two million "likes" he had were mostly from Istanbul, Turkey.

IT experts said the phenomenon is called astroturfing and it creates an impression of widespread support for a cause. In reality, these supporters are just bogus profiles. (See report below.)

IT and social media experts said astroturfing has been planted here too.

One of the latest is a petition posted on Oct 12 on online campaigning site avaaz.org.

Calling for hijabs to be allowed in the Singapore workforce, it had garnered about 12,000 signatures by last night.

It also had more than 6,500 shares on Facebook and almost 1,000 Twitter mentions.

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