Not only diverse in platforms, customers who buy views now have more detailed options such as editing comments, posing as buyers, sending messages in batches…
If you’ve ever been “roaming” on social networks, surely you are no longer surprised when you come across public influencers (KOLs) with millions of followers, but only receive a few comments on articles. post. Or online sales accounts with tens of thousands of views per livestream, but the number of people ordering is extremely superficial. That’s when you will wonder what percentage of those huge numbers are real?
To find out the source of this problem, let’s go to China, the land of origin of this trend of creating “internet zombies”.
With only 800 yuan, or less than 3 million VND, you can become a “hot streamer” with 100,000 fans on popular broadcasting platforms here. And then, if you continue to gain some fans, you can call for investment thanks to your beautiful data. And if you want to stand out on Weibo, WeChat, QQ or even in online games with millions of followers and supporters, it’s not difficult. And when the need arises, the supplier will show up.
In 2018, China Central Television released a surprising number, which was: “90% of online video views in China are fake”. These numbers are completely generated by “viewing farms”, where thousands of iPhone or Android phones are placed neatly on the stand and operated automatically by the software on the computer.
The smartphone arrays are set up for group control, which is the process of integrating dozens of mobile phones together, through the cooperation of computer software, so that managers can control synchronously control these phones at the same time.
For example, they can use these dozens of smartphones to frantically add friends or social media followers to customers.
But this is already 2022, and this monetization field has also matured and is constantly being upgraded. The shelves or racks that once made smartphone walls are a thing of the past.
Today, view farmers no longer need to use bulky and clumsy mobile phone systems as before. Instead, they switched to using the mobile phone’s motherboard directly.
Remove the display, remove the battery, add the heatsink and power supply, insert a few more acrylic sheets to hold everything in place, and you’re done.
In this way, a small space can hold dozens of “phones” without worrying about power failure or screen damage. And this solution also saves quite a lot of costs.
Obviously, when unnecessary components are removed, the cost of a mobile phone with only the motherboard will be significantly reduced. If you buy in bulk, the price can be quite discounted.
According to a share from a service operator, a set of equipment is equivalent to 20 mobile phones, but the price is only 1/5 if using a real device. But of course, although the other parts have been removed, it is still a phone and has a sim card. Because today’s online platforms strictly require the verification of the initial registration account and a phone number is almost mandatory.
It is not too difficult to find these devices in China, however, most sellers will say that they only sell components, not software, as it is illegal.
But, with a little experience and tricks of your own, you can still figure out where to buy these drivers. The difference between them is mainly the number of mobile phones or motherboards it can control at the same time. Generally speaking, most can control up to 100 mobile phones, or 100 motherboards.
And with such software, countless “zombie” accounts have been created on the Internet.
They can operate in various places from WeChat, Weibo, Douyin, Kuaishou, Xiaohongshu… and allow to use extremely low cost to harass ordinary users. It would be hard to imagine how bad influence these group control software can have.
The first and most popular is the function to increase followers for the account. New technology has also kept pace for application on short video platforms or live streams. And to avoid the limitations and oversight of these same platforms, the software will set execution intervals so as not to create a spike in numbers in a short time.
In live broadcast platforms, managers can designate a group of zombies to flood a certain live stream room. They will then randomly send texts from an existing list, or even allow buyers to edit their own comments to their liking.
Is this the whole secret of this service industry?
No, these are just the most basic functions. And it’s no wonder that it is also very cheap, even comes with a refund offer after the trial period if the buyer is not satisfied.
For comparison, a more advanced software is capable of integrating dozens of bundled features, and can work at the same time on a variety of different platforms. The example below is a screenshot of such a tool, which supports a long line of different applications and platforms such as WeChat, Weibo, Xiaohongshu, Xianyu, Tantan… enough to dazzle viewers.
Premium applications also support many features such as bad reviews, comments, likes, shares… For a larger amount of money, buyers can even customize the script for a live stream, or multi-directional comment streams on one’s own posts.
And yet, service buyers can also target specific customers, such as those with a need to buy lipstick. The software then automatically collects and filters from the comments area about 10 or more the most popular lipstick videos on the platform. It will then search for keywords like “buy”, “please price”… and filter out users who are interested in buying this product. Finally, there will be batch messaging to invite these potential audiences.
Of course, buying components and software is not enough, as mentioned above, it will be necessary to register all these zombie accounts with a phone sim card.
And they can also be purchased in bulk. The wholesale price of the sim cards is about 15 yuan (about 50,000 VND), home delivery. Or, through some channels, it is possible to use IOT tokens to register for accounts of major platforms directly.
IOT cards are very similar to regular SIM cards, but they are not sold to individuals but are mainly purchased and used by businesses for bicycle or electric vehicle sharing or vending machines. And apparently, some of the accounts registered this way aren’t even real names.
It can be said that on the Internet there is no such thing as “pure land”.
From card dealers, to hardware and software manufacturers, or even buyers customizing their own scenarios, cyber zombies are being continuously produced by this industry chain.
Views can be fake. The number of fans can fake. The number of comments can be fake. Trading volume can also be fake. In other words, all data across platforms can be tampered with.
And even in online games, you can also buy Likes or interact to receive incentives from the publisher. In the illustration below, for just 5 yuan (about 18,000 VND), one can buy 1,000 likes in China’s hottest mobile game, Glory of Kings. And the seller even generously sent an extra 300.
Let’s stop for a moment to think about an internet like this, something seems a little creepy here.
In the past, people only used these zombie armies to send and re-send spam messages and market products. For now, they most likely appear when you are happily shopping in a live stream room and believing the repeated compliments of “This product looks great”, “I bought it”. before, oh my god, it’s so cheap this time!”
Some brands will even hire an overwhelming zombie army to create a standout event, or send certain messages to a prominent keyword search list to get attention. In general, they will go to great lengths to send the information they want you to know, almost inadvertently, to make you think this is the truth.
Now, we won’t know when it will start. Don’t even know if the people who argued with me on the Internet, the people who were together in a live stream room, the people who sent private messages to show their agreement… are they real person or not.
(According to Law and Readers, Sina)
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