Mumbai police bust social media racket; accused sold 5 lakh followers to celebs

Social media verification has become extremely important to people and more followers than peers translate into individual’s popularity on various platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others.

While these social media platforms help celebrities reach a wider audience, few are ready to increase their follower numbers in any way. This practice is often roasted by users and brands, who are ready to connect with people based on their reach. Following the discovery of a social media racket busted by the Mumbai Police, it is revealed that many social media influencers and celebrities have gained followers by paying some online portals.

The Mumbai Police has formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to look into the matter, but it has already identified 54 portals selling fake followers and is aware of 100 portals involved in unethical behavior.

Police release one accused, and go

The accused has been identified as 21-year-old Abhishek Davade, who hails from Kurla and studies in college. He was working for an international social media marketing racket and accepting payments for his services in US dollars. In the past one year, it reportedly made $ 9,000, which roughly translates into 9 lakh rupees, simply by selling fake followers to social media users. Mumbai Mirror said that many directors, choreographers, makeup artists and sports personalities have bought fake followers of all the accused.The Central Intelligence Unit of the Crime Branch arrested an accused involved in a large-scale social media racket selling fake followers and creating fake effects. The accused conducted their operation through a “Followers Cart” website and was responsible for creating 176 fake accounts of various celebrities and provided 5 lakh fake followers on Instagram, Tickcock and Facebook.

What caused the bust?

Such digital marketing rackets often operate in the shadows and their objectives are difficult to identify. However, when Bollywood playback singer Bhumi Trivedi found that someone had created a fake profile of her on Instagram and found many followers, she filed a complaint with the Mumbai Police. The man used Land’s social media handle to reach out to other celebs with a resolution to increase his followers. The SIT is now investigating other portals and trying to identify who bought these fake followers.

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