From Pine View Farm

Facebook Frolics 3

Don’t believe them likes:

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.

George Smith’s term, “the culture of lickspittle,” is an understatement.

By the way, courgette is Brit for zucchini.



  1. George Smith

    August 3, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    It’s a big issue and it’s going to get bigger. The Silicon Valley is deeply invested in a winner-take-all economy and the software developed is optimized to make it more so. This absolutely guarantees relentless gaming and rigging because you only exist if you are in the top rank of results, whether its search, recommendations returned by algorithm, or any metrics involving counts. Because, it’s now recognized as fact, that perception of popularity generates popularity. There’s a penalty for being total rigged crap but it’s not severe, people do not respond as enthusiastically if something with big pooched numbers is innately horrible, but many still respond in some way, anyway. You remember as well as I do that it wasn’t always like this. Internet search and rating didn’t just all boil down to who the biggest players with the most capital were and whoever else could rig the game most efficiently.

  2. George Smith

    August 3, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Good story, anyway. I could go on and on and I have. I’ve seen the click-farming at multiple places, discovered some foreign unknown using one of my properties to test his click-farming business (YouTube eventually got rid of him but they don’t do it efficiently), worked out how easy it was to use Facebook as a front end to click-farm numbers on YouTube. The rigging business is just expanding and it’s easy to understand why. Mechanical Turk, Bezos’ sweatshop — a great deal of the work on it is disingenuous generation of bull— and astro-turf for the filling up of bogus websites, poisoning search for all the obvious reasons, at pennies a pop. Once ever couple days FB’s own algorithms feed me suggestions for “friends” which are obviously auto-mated bogus profile accounts set up for a variety of purposes. One would like to say something nice, that there’s some good to society this technology affords, but it’s too easy to rip aside the gleaming tissue covering it to expose what low value absolute rubbish it is beneath the exterior.

  3. Frank

    August 3, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    I suspect that a lot of the behavior we see in Silicon Valley is reminiscent of the behavior of the robber barons in the Gilded Age.
    They also believed that their good fortune was the mark of destiny, rather than the mark of a few brains and a lot of luck and timing.