News

Selling social media clicks becomes big business

Fake Facebook activities bring in $200 million a year, according to Italian security researchers and bloggers Andrea Stroppa and Carla De Micheli.
Fake Facebook activities bring in $200 million a year, according to Italian security researchers and bloggers Andrea Stroppa and Carla De Micheli.Credit: Paul Sakuma/Associated Press files

This is a summary. To read the whole story subscribe to BostonGlobe.com

Since Facebook was launched almost 10 years ago, users have sought to expand their social networks for financial gain, winning friends, bragging rights, and professional clout. And social media companies cite the levels of engagement to tout their value.

But an Associated Press examination has found a growing global marketplace for fake clicks, which tech companies struggle to police. Online records, industry studies, and interviews show that companies are capitalizing on the opportunity to make millions of dollars by duping social media.

For as little as a half-cent per click, websites hawk everything from LinkedIn connections to make members appear more employable to Soundcloud plays to influence interest in record labels.

Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.

Get the full story with unlimited access to BostonGlobe.com.

Just 99 cents for four weeks.

Share