Huge click farm discovered in Thailand
Click farms — where low-paid workers are paid to spend their days clicking on content — have become a problem across the globe. Sometimes these farms manifest as rooms with hundreds if not thousands of phones, all at the ready for when a company pays for traffic.
Click farms are very adaptable. Companies can use them for everything from acquiring LinkedIn connections to make themselves look better on the job market to influencing record labels on SoundCloud to simple web traffic. And they make millions doing so.
Motherboard reports a gigantic click farm in Thailand is latest to be caught. The click farm had over 500 cell phones and 350,000 SIM cards. The setup also included nine computers and 21 SIM card readers.
Three Chinese workers were arrested at the rented Thailand house for working without a permit.
According to the Bangkok Post, a Chinese company gave the men 150,000 baht ($4,403) along with the phones to pull off the operation for a month. The men told the police they were operating to boost engagement for Chinese products sold in Thailand because of the low mobile phone fees. They were generating “fake” page views, likes, and shares through the social media app WeChat.
The men are probably going to be deported back to China, rather than facing any time behind bars, according to one of the police officers involved, the Nigerian newspaper The Nation reported.
This isn’t the first IRL click farm to be busted. Just last month, a massive click farm with over 10,000 phones was discovered in China. And in today’s online-driven world, it almost certainly won’t be the last. Just remember where the online popularity might be coming from next time you’re checking out companies and products online.