Speculation around fake follower counts achieved via bots is something which continues to plague the social media sphere and now Devumi, a social media marketing company which offered customers a ‘blend of marketing tactics’ in order to quickly gain followers and likes, has been fined $2.5 million by the Federal Trade Commission for selling fake likes and followers.

The $2.5 million fine handed to Devumi could prove to be a benchmark case for online fake sellers and lead other existing companies to shut down to avoid similar punishments, which could ultimately have a knock-on effect on accounts which use bots to boost their social following. Earlier this year a number of celebrities, such as Kylie Jenner and Ariana Grande, lost millions of followers after Instagram purged a number of fake and inactive accounts, so this crackdown on the sellers of fake followers may lead to more notable accounts seeing their follower counts take a sizeable hit. This focus on the elimination of fake followers on social media is ultimately good for brands which spend money on advertising via celebrities and influencers as there will now be an element of added confirmation that the audience they are paying the influencer to reach are ‘real’.

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