Selling fake followers and likes is illegal, landmark settlement finds

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New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a precedent-setting settlement Wednesday with Devumi, a company that found itself in hot water after The New York Times reported it sold millions of fake likes, retweets and followers on social media.

These millions of bot accounts ran unchecked across Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, SoundCloud and Pinterest. Some fake accounts stole real people’s photos on social media, the attorney general’s office said. The company sold fraudulent social media engagement to celebrities, musicians and athletes, it added. The practice makes opinions and people appear more popular than they actually are.

This is the first time a law enforcement agency has found that selling fake social media engagement and using stolen identities is illegal. Devumi, and its former CEO, German Calas Jr., couldn’t be reached for comment. Continue Reading




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