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Fake ‘Likes’ Remain Just a Few Dollars Away, Researchers Say

The New York Times – Despite Big Tech’s attempts to combat manipulation, companies that sell clicks, likes and followers on social media are easy to find. “Companies like Facebook and Twitter are poorly policing automated bots and other methods for manipulating social media platforms, according to a report released on Friday by researchers from the NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence. With a small amount of money, the researchers found, virtually anyone can hire a company to get more likes, comments and clicks. The group, an independent organization that advises the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, tested the tech companies’ ability to stop paid influence campaigns by turning to 11 Russian and five European companies that sell fake social media engagement. For 300 euros, or about $330, the researchers bought over 3,500 comments, 25,000 likes, 20,000 views and 5,000 followers, including on posts from prominent politicians like Ms. Vestager and Ms. Jourova…”

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