Your browser is no longer supported. For the best experience of this website, please upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

'Follower fraud' costs brands £157m

Online “bots” that create fake followers on social media platforms such as Instagram are costing brands more than $200m (£157m).

A study from New York marketing company Captiv8, reported in The Times, found that brands paid $2.1bn (£1.65bn) to influencers in 2017, but 11% of the reactions those posts generated were from fake or automated accounts.

So-called follower fraud allows users of sites such as Instagram to buy fake followers to enhance their credentials, and brands are being duped into spending money on “influencers” that have little real influence, and few real followers.

In December, Instagram deleted millions of fake accounts leading to drops in follower numbers for many high-profile celebrities. Kim Kardashian, for example, lost 1 million followers as a result of the cull.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.