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(Photo: AFP)
(Photo: AFP)

Opinion | An Insta scam

As many as 16 million accounts of Indian influencers on Instagram are fake, says a new study

Marketers looking to raise sales or impress onlookers via social media influencers had better watch out. As many as 16 million accounts of Indian influencers on Instagram are fake, or so says a study by Swedish e-commerce startup, A Good Company, and data analytics firm HypeAuditor. The firms put a sample of 1.84 million Instagram accounts globally to scrutiny and found that the US, Brazil and India had the most fakes. Social media “influencers" are users who are popular and whose posts are expected to hold sway over others. The scam means that plenty of ad money devoted to the platform may have been wasted.

Keen to reach millennials, marketers want to snuggle their way into influence circles online. The trouble is that success here can often be gamed, as seen with past scandals involving bot-generated “likes" and “followers". Relying on “vanity metrics" to gauge a user’s reach may not be a foolproof idea. These can be artificially boosted. Also, content that seems successful may not reliably indicate thematic trends for advertisers to cotton on to. Always confirm the authenticity of what’s on view before trying to ride piggyback on its appeal

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