James Cracknell, Paul Hollywood Martha Lane Fox have paid a company which allegedly uses fake accounts to boost people’s followings on Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR).
They are alleged to among over 200,000 customers, including athletes, reality TV stars, models and comedians who have signed up to American firm Devumi.
The company, which specializes in selling Twitter retweets and followers and to anyone who wants to appear very popular or exert influence online, operates by using an estimated stock of around 3.5million automated accounts.
Paul Hollywood, a famous British Bake Off judge is alleged to have bought some of his 600,000 followers on twitter from the American website. In comparison, Prue Leith, his Bake Off co-judge has just 20,000 twitter follower. Hollywood deleted the account after he was contacted by the New York Times over the matter.
Baroness Lane-Fox, the co-founder of karaoke bar chain Lucky Voice and LastMinute.com blamed a ‘rogue employee’ for seven batches of purchases using her email address for over a year.
Her largest increase is where she gained 25,000 followers and was made just a few days after she became a board member of Twitter in April 2016.
Some victims have claimed that they thought Devumi was offering them with real fans. James Cracknell, British rowing Olympic champion is said to have bought 50,000 followers from Devumi in 2016. Cracknell, who has 100,000 followers on twitter, however told the New York Times that he doesn’t want anybody following him yet he is not interested in him.
A data analysis done has established that at least 55,000 of the accounts used by Devumi use the pictures, names and personal details of real Twitter users, including teenagers and children.
In the social media industry, followers are equivalent to money. People with many followers are paid highly by companies to endorse their products and services.
It is said that Devumi sells followers at the rate of 1p for every follower. The company’s founder, German Calas had however denied the fact that his company sells fake twitter followers and said that he doesn’t know anything about the identities which are stolen from real users.