A Russian Went Inside A Chinese Click-Farm: This Is What He Found

Tyler Durden's picture

On the day when Snapchat erased billions of market cap from investors (and founders) accounts - as the MAUs-means-money model seems to break - we thought it worthwhile taking another glimpse into the hush-hush world of 'click-farms' and the fakeness of the latest social network fads.

In 2014, we first exposed the world to the 'click-farm' where nothing is what it seems, and where social networking participants spend millions of dollars to appear more important, followed, prestigious, cool, or generally "liked" than they really are. As we detailed at the time, social networking has been the "it" thing for a while: for the networks it makes perfect sense because they are merely the aggregators and distributors of terrabytes of free, third party created content affording them multi-billion dollar valuations without generating a cent in profits (just think of the upside potential in having 10 times the world's population on any given publicly-traded network), while for users it provides the opportunity to be seen, to be evaluated or "liked" on one's objective, impartial merits and to maybe go "viral", potentially making money in the process. Of course, the biggest draws of social networks also quickly became their biggest weaknesses, and it didn't take long to game the weakest link: that apparent popularity based on the size of one's following or the number of likes, which usually translates into power and/or money, is artificial and can be purchased for a price.

But it is not only sport stars with chips on their shoulder, or fading move and music gods who are willing to dish out in order to get the fake adoration and fake fans: as the AP reports, In 2013, the State Department, which has more than 400,000 likes and was recently most popular in Cairo, said it would stop buying Facebook fans after its inspector general criticized the agency for spending $630,000 to boost the numbers. In one case, its fan tally rose to more than 2.5 million from about 10,000.

Since then there have been crackdowns (self-regulated) and also numerous "advertising metric errors," but still, as recently as March of this year, scientists at USC and Indiana University discovered up to 15% of Twitter accounts could be fake. Since Twitter currently has 319 million monthly active users, that translates to nearly 48 million bot accounts, using USC's high-end estimate. The report goes on to say that complex bots could have shown up as humans in their model, "making even the 15% figure a conservative estimate." At 15 percent, the evaluation is far greater than Twitter's own estimates.

In a filing with the SEC last month, Twitter said that up to 8.5 percent of all active accounts contacted Twitter's servers "…without any discernable additional user-initiated action."

Since that equates to roughly 20 million more bot accounts than Twitter's own assessment, that could be an issue in light of analyst concerns about user growth. In a recent research report, Nomura Instinet analysts wrote that "Twitter's revenue growth has slowed to the mid-single digits, as the platform has struggled to attract new users over the past year…"

The research could be troubling news for Twitter, which has struggled to grow its user base in the face of growing competition from Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and others.

So, if they're not human, where do all those "likes," "retweets," and "followers" lighting up your social media accounts from?

Thanks to this Russian gentleman - who visited a Chinese click farm, where they make fake ratings for mobile apps and other things like this -  we now know...

He said they have 10,000 more phones just like these.

As we concluded previously, the bottom line is simple: "The illusion of a massive following is often just that," said Tony Harris, who does social media marketing for major Hollywood movie firms, said he would love to be able to give his clients massive numbers of Twitter followers and Facebook fans, but buying them from random strangers is not very effective or ethical. And once the prevailing users of social networks grasp that one of the main driving features of the current social networking fad du jour is nothing but a big cash scam operating out of a basement in the far east, expect both Facebook and shortly thereafter, Twitter, to go the way of 6 Degrees, Friendster and MySpace, only this time the bagholders will be the public. Because "it is never different this time." The only certain thing: someone will promptly step in to replace any social network that quietly fades into the sunset.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
This is it's picture

Looooool.... Coz it's China!! 

Mr Pink's picture

but ....Zuckerkike says real people use kikebook

Juggernaut x2's picture

My favorite line from the article was the guy from Hollywood pontificating about ethics 

This is it's picture

Can't blame the Chinese. The snowflakes live off likes. And so they get it. 

swampmanlives's picture

Isn't that why you come to post here? To get like minded people to reaffirm your beliefs?

runningman18's picture

When your beliefs are based on facts, there's no need to have them "reaffirmed".  I post here because I like to share facts...and also point out when idiots are wrong.    

philipat's picture

PURLEEEEZ can someone start a FaceFuck, Twatter and YouBoob wihich respect individual privacy and without the Political opinionation and the censorship?

AVmaster's picture

Nothing new...


In fact, having the chinese inadvertantly/unknowingly test your network security as guinea pigs is the flip side of the coin and something I regularly do....

Four chan's picture

pretty cool setup from a technical standpoint. chinks

847328_3527's picture

The Chinamen are smart.

The American snowflakes addicted to FB, etc., not so much.

AltRight Girl's picture

Now you know how the manchurian candidate and Cankles had so many Twitter followers. 

They were fake just like their illegal voters and their "Foundations"

Obama’s Non-Profit Goes on Same Dubious Path First Started by Clinton Foundation

Montani Semper Liberi's picture

 Is that any more disingenuous than spamming the top section Of the ZH comments with your shit site every day, all the time? I wouldn't be surprised to learn you've got more than a few fake likes of your own on farcebook and twatter.

 Do you ever ask yourself why you have to resort to trolling and trickery to get traffic to your web site? Does it bother you that your product is so poor that you are forced to become a leech upon other people's work?

fleur de lis's picture

The click farmers are no worse than the poll farmers.

At least the click famers don't instigate wars that get people killed and maimed, destroy entire nations, and usurp elections.

Soundgardener's picture

A Death Star-sized USB-1 hairball with eDust-coccooned digital turds covering every sceptic-centimeter, vomiting anti-data curses into the Shitstem at the speed of MEH—yeah this'll shockwaves through the tech industry from Seoul to Cupertino, especially the customizable RGB lighting.

Handy as an emergency backup to HAARP in case of tectonic fault intolerance.

Clickkity China the Chinese (are) Clickin':


Stuck on Zero's picture

I prefer human cheering squads to these automated cell phone click farms. Especially squads like the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

Soundgardener's picture

As long as they spend their entire pathetic existances entombed in intensely humming sacs of pure evil; vile, surgically connected umbilica constantly sapping their life force to stoke the relentlessly humming Engines of Infinite Evil towards the Hate-Singularity, I'm fine.

Cheers & Seig Heil,

George Bush Senior

GreatUncle's picture

Nope because ... they all constructed and supported by the CIA to break your privacy.

SolidAssets's picture

S­­­­­­t­­­a­­­r­­­t­­­ ­­­w­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­o­­­­­­­­­r­­­­­­­­­k­i­­­­­­­­­­­­­n­­­­­­­­­g­­­­­­ ­­­­­a­­­­t h­­­­­­­o­­­­­­­­m­­­­­­­­e­­­­­­­­­ ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­wi­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­t­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­h­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ G­­o­­­o­­­g­­l­­e­­­­­­­­­ and ­­­­­­­­­Y­­­­­­­­­­­­a­­­­­­­­­h­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­o­­­­­­­­­o­.It’s the most-financially rewarding I've ever done. On tuesday I got a ­­­g­­­o­­­r­­­g­­­e­­­o­­­u­­­s­­­ ­­­B­­­M­­­W­­­ ­­­a­­­f­­­t­­­e­­­r­­­ ­­­h­­­a­­­v­­­i­­­n­­­g­­­ ­­­e­­­a­­­r­­­n­­­e­­­d­­­ $18699 this month. I actually started five months/ago and practically s­­­tr­­­a­­­i­­­g­­­h­­­t­­­ ­­­a­­­w­­­a­­­y­­­ ­­­w­­­a­­­s­­­ b­­­r­­­i­­­n­­­g­­­i­­­n­­­­­­g i­­­­­­n ­­­­­­a­­­t­­­ ­­­l­­­e­­­a­­­s­­­t­­­ ­­­$­­­9­­­6­­­,­­­ ­­­p­­­e­­­r­­­-­­­h­­­o­­­u­­­r­­­. visit this site right here...... http://bit.ly/2jdTzrM

Rich Stoehner's picture

So I can hire China to get me more up votes??

giovanni_f's picture

in your case it would be too obvious. Live with the fact that your posts are feedback non-events and enjoy your afternoon booze.

JohninMK's picture

I am a bot and my algorythm computes that your comment deserves an up vote.

Have a nice day.

Soundgardener's picture

Natural 20 Vorpal Comment: remove Rich Stoener's avatard from the Bored of Play and resume play with a permanent +1 bonus to Turgidity.

shovelhead's picture


You have to admit that arguing with idiots is a big draw on it's own.

Because going to the Arctic to club baby seals is expensive, cold and inconvenient when you can sit around in your underwear with a coffee and get the same thrill with a keyboard.

I hate travelling.

Soundgardener's picture

I travel hating, but hey, it takes all sorts (of cunts).

sebmurray's picture

Or maybe challenge them in ways one doesn't expect? 

Soundgardener's picture

Also known as unexpected ways, or 'unexpectedly'

  - Insufferably Arrogant Uber-Corrector

Scorpiistar's picture

Wow 20 haters......youre onto something

Soundgardener's picture

I'm all about immanentizing the eschaton, with a side order of keeping up with the meme-o-sphere.

Hongcha's picture

Yes, the money is there on the table.

This Snapchat earnings report sent a chill through S.F. today.  The most ballyhoed IPO since FB and look at it 2 months later.

I think we may finally be on the way down on the ol' roller coaster

Gankgankgankgankgankgankgankgankgankgank [pause] ...

TwelveOhOne's picture

The roller coaster "The Hulk" at Universal Studios was amazing in that regard -- it's normally a slow rise, then pause, then slowly accelerating descent; on that ride, instead, you're accelerated right from the start, up the hill!  Really different feel to it.

Soundgardener's picture

"This Snapchat earnings report sent a chill through S.F. today."

This line created a viral storm of WhoIs lookups for 'SnapChill.com'

Oh regional Indian's picture

Haaha, some of us saw through this shite 7 years ago..... 7 years ago, allow me a pat, or don't :-)

bt, u shd rd ths!


Soundgardener's picture

FYI your post has been flagged as anti-seTwittic with the Anti-Deaf & DumbiNation league.


Good Day.


nightwish's picture

This is perfectly representative of how most every aspect of life in this current age is nothing but a sham.

No information can be trusted, from most any source.

Photoshop, autotune, click farms, bogus polls, fake news, etc.

Will live in a pseudo-reality. Most of our throught processes are mired with deception. 

Cant exist this way anymore. Something will give.

runnymede's picture

I no longer trust your avatar

Creative_Destruct's picture

"...most every aspect of life in this current age is nothing but a sham."

My fairly long experience indicates the sham has been going on for decades. It's now just amped-up with network tech.

So, we've been existing this way for quite some time, which unfortunately indicates we can go on in this f-ed up state for quite awhile longer without things totally failing.

Soundgardener's picture

"Wow, the view from The Edge of the Abyss is AMAZE-BALLS, hold on ima livestream a selfie of me taking a selfie doing the moonwalk, hey where'd the rail..."

shovelhead's picture

Oh jeez, get off the drama...

Relax with some hentai porn.

pavman's picture

It's just the spirit of the age.  I've met so many two faced, confused, dishonest busiesses and people over the last 4 years, really starting way back in 2010, its like pandemic deception and BULLSHIT is the norm now.  If war comes, we deserve it.

what's fucked up is even lawyers tell me suing and winning no longer means enforcing the judgment.  Despite the ability to garnish savings. Why the hell do we pay taxes again?  Seems like if ur not crookin or scamming you lose in the postbama economy.

But then what do we expect the outcome is when We The People allowed that TBTF bullshit?  Respect for the law flows from the top.

Soundgardener's picture

Was going to upvote your post, er...up, but came to the conclusion that there's no way to tell whether you're the real nightwish or not, and either one or both of those are EXACTLY what you want people to do, or not, so the correct response was to load & pull a bong.

ChessMate, set and match, to me.

*Dramatic exit through wrong door into cleaning closet*

JerseyJoe's picture

But but but he wants to be our President.   What an asshole regardless of his tribe.

Juggernaut x2's picture

If they would only put half as much effort into cleaning up their environment as they do obsessing about technology 

takeaction's picture

Wow....I first thought that I was going to see rooms and rooms of chinese people doing the clicking.  All automated.  Incredible.  



Never earning a days wage honestly.....Just like those fucking ZH spammers on here...


ForTheWorld's picture

The hardware installation and software configuration doesn't automate itself - at least one person earned an honest days wage. After that, all that can be redeployed with a script written in Python, Powershell or even a Batch file. Those guys at the desks are just there waiting to call Support if something breaks.

Justin Case's picture

China on Jun 20, 2016 revealed its latest supercomputer, a monolithic system with 10.65 million compute cores built entirely with Chinese microprocessors. This follows a U.S. government decision last year to deny China access to Intel's fastest microprocessors.

There is no U.S.-made system that comes close to the performance of China's new system, the Sunway TaihuLight. Its theoretical peak performance is 124.5 petaflops, according to the latest biannual release today of the world's Top500 supercomputers. It is the first system to exceed 100 petaflops. A petaflop equals one thousand trillion (one quadrillion) sustained floating-point operations per second.

The fastest U.S. supercomputer, number 3 on the Top500 list, is the Titan, a Cray supercomputer at U.S. Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory with a theoretical peak of about 27 petaflops.

honestann's picture

On the other hand, have you ever benchmarked any of those systems (including Cray)?  Thought not.  Sadly, benchmarks are becoming nearly as bogus as social media statistics.  Just recently, for example, CPUZ changed their benchmark algorithms to favor Intel CPUs (for undisclosed under-the-table rewards from Intel) because the AMD Ryzen CPUs are making Intel CPUs look lame.

Reality is real.

Most mainstream text today is coopted by human predators to spread lies & promote fraud.