‘All Of My TikTok Followers Are Fake’

An anonymous reader shares a report: The followers poured in. Then the likes. Then tens of thousands of people watched my TikTok video. The clip itself was of a few Motherboard staffers winning a match in the hugely popular game Call of Duty: Warzone; TikTok is full of streamers and players uploading their wins or soul-crushing loses. The video itself isn’t good — there’s no slick editing, no captivating TikTok personality talking to camera, and certainly no dancing — but in a few short hours the video accumulated 25,000 views and over 1,000 likes. This is very little engagement compared to the most popular videos on TikTok, but it’s not bad for my first ever clip uploaded to the platform. The video climbed through the rankings of one of the Warzone-related hashtags people use to share their games.

But most of that engagement was fake. I bought the TikTok followers, likes, and views from a website that offers them all for sale. For around $50 in total I had artificially inflated the popularity of my TikTok clip, and, although my video certainly isn’t about to go viral, potentially increased the chance for unsuspecting TikTok users to see it themselves. The news comes amid increased attention on TikTok, including not-yet-publicly verified claims from the Trump administration that the app poses a national security risk. Last week President Trump signed an executive order that would ban TikTok from the United States if the company isn’t bought by an American company. TikTok plans to sue in response as early as this week, NPR reported. Microsoft is in talks to purchase TikTok.

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