A case concerned with social media marketing fraud regarding fake followers has been investigated by the Mumbai police for a while now. Celebrities like Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra might soon be questioned by the crime branch for fake and paid social media followers.
Money has been paid by 176 high-profile celebrities to get fake followers, the report claims. A study conducted by the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance in 2019 revealed the names of the celebrities that have used such services. Approximately half of the followers of Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra are either fake followers or bots.
As per the reports, around 54 firms relating to fake followers scam have been found out. An investigation was initiated after a complaint was filed on July 11 by Indian singer Bhoomi Trivedi. The complaint by the singer was against a quack who was using a fake Instagram page in her name. The quack used to even chat with people. The screenshots of the chats were saved by the quack and revealed to people to increase followers.
The inspection was led by Vinay Kumar Chaubey, Mumbai”s Joint Commissioner of Police. It revealed the names of 10 celebrities, including other celebrities from the sports, political, and entertainment world. These celebrities might also be investigated and are under the scanner.
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They have been using up money for attaining fake followers as well as retweets on Twitter and likes on Facebook. According to the reports, the Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU) of Mumbai Police has arrested a man called Abhishek Dinesh Daude. He has been making fake social media accounts to gain fake followers.
If the reports are to be believed, about 48 percent of the Instagram followers of these two actresses are bots or fake followers. An officer professed that an international racket has been investigated by them. The investigation is an aspect of the stimulus of the probe.
According to the initial investigations, one such France based website is found. The Ministry of External Affairs is investigating the details of the company. Their team has also written to the French government.
A rate card has also been revealed on one such website to gain fake followers. An amount of $52(Dh191) is paid by people for one Youtube subscription. Whereas, $42.12 (Dh148) is paid for a Twitter comment and $1.79(Dh6.57) for a like on Facebook.
Two people have been arrested in this case of fake followers so far. A civil engineer named Kashif Mansoor is one of the arrested. The company is foreign-based and Mansoor provides such services in Indian currency through his own website. These services to gain fake followers have seemed to be used by various B-grade celebs and small companies. The criminals are accountable for this scam are to be charged under seven counts of the Indian penal code. They will be charged under the Information Technology Act – Section 467 (forgery of valuable security, will, etc.) as well as Section 66 (computer-related offenses).