dryriver writes "How much do you like courgettes? According to one Facebook page devoted to them, hundreds of people find them delightful enough to click the "like" button – even with dozens of other pages about courgettes to choose from. There's just one problem: the liking was fake, done by a team of low-paid workers in Dhaka, Bangladesh, whose boss demanded just $15 per thousand "likes" at his "click farm". Workers punching the keys might be on a three-shift system, and be paid as little as $120 a year. The ease with which a humble vegetable could win approval calls into question the basis on which many modern companies measure success online – through Facebook likes, YouTube video views and Twitter followers. Channel 4's Dispatches programme will on Monday reveal the extent to which click farms risk eroding user confidence in what had looked like an objective measure of social online approval. The disclosures could hurt Facebook as it tries to persuade firms away from advertising on Google and to use its own targeted advertising, and to chase likes as a measure of approval. The importance of likes is considerable with consumers: 31% will check ratings and reviews, including likes and Twitter followers, before they choose to buy something, research suggests. That means click farms could play a significant role in potentially misleading consumers."
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