A massive ‘click farm’ operation has been busted in Thailand, giving the world a glimpse into the lucrative underground tech industry.
A click farm is essentially a large hub of cellphones, computers, or any other device capable of connecting to the internet, used to create false internet traffic, clicks, and even social media activity.
Much of the world’s internet traffic is, in fact, fake. Most social media users witness this kind of fraud in the form of ‘bots’ – fake accounts that inflate a real account’s popularity, significance and activity.
According to the National Online, this particular operation, run by three Chinese nationals, was using a system of 500 phones, nine computers, 21 SIM card readers and a whopping 35 000 SIM cards to run ‘socko puppet’ accounts (bots) on WeChat.
The publication believes that the farm was based in Thailand due to the country’s low cellular network costs, but the source of the operation lies in China.
The Bangkok Post alleges that a Chinese company supplied the equipment and paid the men nearly $4 500 per month to run the farm.
Russian man visited Chinese click farm.They make fake ratings for mobile apps and things like this.He said they have 10,000 more phones pic.twitter.com/qE96vgCCsi— English Russia (@EnglishRussia1) May 11, 2017
WeChat parent TenCent hasn’t commented on the fiasco, but it’s not the first such operation uncovered in Asia.
The men won’t face jail time, though. The National Online believes they will likely face a small fine – along with deportation, of course.