UCI How Fake Follower Industry Affect Credibility of Influencers on Weibo Paper


Question Description

1) Final paper: 9-15 pages, including an abstract (first page) and a reference list (last pages). The main content should be at least 6 pages.

2). The topic will be on Social Media. You can choose any topic within the Social Media field. It is best that you use the same topic as in your proposal, but if you want to change the topic, that’s fine. (My choose topic was: How does the fake follower industry affect the credibility of influencers on Weibo?*Weibo: A type of social media in China like Facebook as US.

3) You need to use at least 10 references (at least 3 from A Group and at least 5 from B group).

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Instructions Instructions for the final paper: 1) Final paper: 9-15 pages, including an abstract (first page) and a reference list (last pages). The main content should be at least 6 pages. Due: 7/6/19, 11 pm 2). The topic will be on Social Media. You can choose any topic within the Social Media field. It is best that you use the same topic as in your proposal, but if you want to change the topic, that’s fine. (My choose topic was: How does the fake follower industry affect the credibility of influencers on Weibo?) *Weibo: A type of social media in China like Facebook as US. 3) You need to use at least 10 references (at least 3 from A Group and at least 5 from B group). See below for the two groups: A Group: At least 3 articles from the following list: I. Social media or anti-social media? Reddit and the Struggle to Detoxify the Internet https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/03/19/reddit-and-the-struggle-to-detoxify-theinternet Spitting out the Red Pill: Former Misogynists Reveal How They Were Radicalised Online https://www.newstatesman.com/science-tech/internet/2017/02/reddit-the-red-pill-interview-howmisogyny-spreads-online II. Social media and politics Trolls for Trump https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/10/31/trolls-for-trump Cambridge Analytica’s Parent Company Helped Shape Saudi Arabia’s Reform Movement https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/31/business/cambridge-analytica-scl-group-saudi-arabia.html Facebook and the election https://www.wired.com/2016/11/facebook-won-trump-election-not-just-fake-news/ III. Social media and change At Uber, a New C.E.O. Shifts Gears https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/04/09/at-uber-a-new-ceo-shifts-gears IV. Giant tech and political influence Google Critic Ousted from Think Tank Funded by the Tech Giant https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/30/us/politics/eric-schmidt-google-new-america.html https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/01/23/google-outspent-every-othercompany-on-federal-lobbying-in-2017/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.194f65562a9f V. Echo Chamber Facebook as “Echo Chamber” http://theconversation.com/explainer-how-facebook-has-become-the-worlds-largest-echochamber-91024 https://www.wired.com/2016/11/facebook-echo-chamber/ VI. Social Media effects https://www.newstatesman.com/science-tech/internet/2017/02/reddit-the-red-pill-interview-howmisogyny-spreads-online VI: The price of making a living from social media https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/04/24/vanlife-the-bohemian-social-mediamovement https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/07/09/ice-poseidons-lucrative-stressful-life-as-alive-streamer VII: Social Media and Extremism https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/06/08/technology/youtuberadical.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share&auth=login-email VIII: Wk4_A: Social Media a. Prof. Olson's video lecture. b. Reading on Information Disorder or “Fake News”: https://firstdraftnews.org/fake-newscomplicated/ c. Reading on Data Violence: https://medium.com/s/story/data-violence-and-how-badengineering-choices-can-damage-society-39e44150e1d4 d. Reading on the Attention Economy: https://read.dukeupress.edu/publicculture/article/doi/10.1215/08992363-2798379/31071/Instafame-Luxury-Selfies-in-theAttention-Economy B Group: At least 5 articles found on your own. I. All sources that you find on your own should go through NYU Databases. If you are interested in using journalism articles from establish mainstream news (such as The New York Times, BBC, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, World Journal, The Nation, etc.), the database LexisNexis is a very helpful. II. You can click on "NYU Libraries" in NYU Classes, and click on "Articles and Databases," and then in "Subject-Specific," click on "Media and Communication" and you will find lots of research sources. III. Be sure to ask the Reference Librarians if you have research questions. You can meet them in person, call them, or chat: https://library.nyu.edu/ask/ VI. Your analysis should use a social sciences and critical lens. For example, if your topic is on how “social media can be used effectively as a marketing tool,” or “social media can be used to influence an election,” please also think critically about the impact on the culture/society/democracy. That is, instead of celebrating Cambridge Analytica's tremendous profits because the company has effectively helped its clients to sway elections, you should also think about the political and social consequences. 4) The Format of the paper: 1) First page: Your full name, the title of the paper, and the abstract. * If you have consulted a tutor, please indicate the tutor's name and the date of your interaction. You can write this info right under the abstract. 2) Main Text: 6 or more pages 3) Last page(s): References a) Include complete bibliography in APA style. b) You need to divide the references into two groups: i) Dr. Sun's list (A Group mentioned above) ii) Your own research (B Group mentioned above) c) For each reference, you need to provide a summary (150-300 words) that can demonstrate that you have read and understood the material. If it is appropriate, you can include what you have already written in your proposal. d) Any references from the textbook that is NOT on social media or any references that are not from academic or reliable sources will be considered to be beyond the 10 references. e) Your final paper will be graded for the quality of the analysis, research, and writing. f) You need to follow APA style. (Please check Resources>APA style) Final paper proposal How does the fake follower industry affect the credibility of influencers on Weibo? Weibo, as one of the most popular social networks and microblogging channels in China, celebrities, common individuals, and organizations utilize it to maintain their public profiles and connect with other users. Besides, the social media platform allows customers to find the needed information about new products and brands. It is imperative for brands and influencers to have professional Weibo profiles to attract followers and enhance their commercial value. Organizations understand the popularity of the social media platform among consumers and its possible impact on sales, which is the reason that they utilize it to their advantage to increase revenue and product demand. China is one of the largest social media markets in the world that also has a diverse online landscape. In the current highly competitive business environment, companies have to assess the developments on social media platforms to market their products and services effectively while reaching the highest number of customers. The platform has attracted many users due to the ease of use and information credibility. It is apparent that argument quality, social influence, and information involvement are essential factors that influence the credibility of the information. According to Craig, Cai, and Lv (2016), Weibo influencers are focused on credible delivery of advertising messages and marketing content. Over the years, Weibo has become a popular platform that allows organizations to broaden their business networks and expand their brands. Therefore, using Weibo as a marketing platform has become one of the main promotional strategies for thousands of businesses in the country. Similarly to Twitter, Weibo displays the names of the users, their biography, and their overall number of posts (Binlin, Jianming, & Jingwei, 2013). However, more and more users start questioning the authenticity of the data and believing it was just a self-deception of false data, and even joked that more than half of the stars' fans were fake. The main reason is that the number of fans on Weibo is too different from the number of retweets and comments. Take Xie Na, who has the largest number of followers on Weibo, for example. Xie Na has more than 90 million followers on Weibo. According to the 39th statistical report on the development of China's Internet network released by China Internet network information center (CNNIC), by the end of 2016, the number of mobile phone users in China was about 240 million, that is to say, one in three people followed Xie Na on Weibo. However, her average number of comments on weibo is only tens of thousands. It's really hard to believe the numbers of followers. Weibo data fraud has become an industrial chain, Weibo fans can buy and sell at a very low price is not a new story. If we search it online, we can see different kinds of followers are sold publicly. No matter you are influencer or regular user, you are able to buy followers as you want. Influencers who want to rise their commercial value buy fake followers and use their follower numbers to cheat. Brand PR buy fake followers to achieve the goal. Therefore, fake followers undermine Weibo’s credibility as a marketing platform due to the influx of fake reviews and people’s inability to distinguish reliable brands from the impostors. However, the fake follower industry violates the discipline of social media platform, which is credibility. Thus, I’m going to do the research about how fake followers industry affects the credibility of influencers on Weibo. Summary Companies have an opportunity to attract new customers and retain the existing ones using the social media platform. The strategies help companies build their brand image and gain recommendations quickly. Such platforms allow organizations to accrue benefits in a short span of time with minimal investment. On Weibo, a company has an opportunity to increase the number of followers with the help of appealing posts and proper customer interaction. Although companies can assess their influence using the available analytics, zombie followers can interfere with the results of the findings. (Viviani & Pasi, 2017) In most instances, zombie followers create fake Weibo accounts and send their accounts to the users who want to increase their popularity either for personal or commercial purposes. Zombie followers in China have created an outstanding micro-economy in the marketing area. As a result, some users pay a small fee to attract more followers to their social media page. Zombie followers raise the status of the users even without getting involved in any form of microblog discussions (Voorveld, 2019). It is apparent that the increase of zombie followers is a simple exercise, which increases the number of accounts with fake email addresses and names. Therefore, it is important to utilize a detection approach to identify if a social media account has any zombie followers. Most people in China are active internet users who conduct research and purchase their preferable services and goods online. Therefore, the country has the potential to grow and expand as a result of online development. Most Chinese recognize Weibo as the immediate and dynamic social media platform that offers numerous business opportunities (Binlin et al., 2013). However, some of the brands struggle to understand the Chinese market and assess local trends. Therefore, organizations should recognize the relevance of advertisement for customers in both local and global markets. Weibo users can post short messages on the platform, including videos and pictures. Similarly to Twitter, the users can use hashtags to post and repost their content. Organizations can also create polls to understand the opinions of their followers and collect the needed feedback. One of the unique aspects of Weibo is that it facilitates instantaneous and quick sharing of ideas and attracts mobile users. However, businesses and individuals alike have to utilize special expertise in assessing online discussions about their brands. Weibo has become one of the most prominent micro-blogging platforms across the country. The users of the social media platforms have a chance of uploading videos, images, and gifts on their network. According to Yang et al. (2019), one of the unique aspects of Weibo is sharing functionality that makes the platform an important source of information. Over the years, organizations have also realized the importance of using celebrities to increase public awareness about their products and increase the sales. Therefore, brand names often associate themselves with public figures to showcase their credibility and remain relevant in the Chinese market. Conclusion Weibo is one of the most popular social media platforms in China. Companies utilize it frequently to increase brand awareness and attract more customers. Besides, individual users utilize Weibo as a platform for interaction and exchange of ideas. In every social network analysis, social network users have some common characteristics. Although the expansion of the Internet over the years has been highly beneficial for the society, the trend led to the emergence of zombie followers. “Zombie followers” on Weibo have created a micro-economy in China that allows users to undermine the credibility of online information and share misleading data about non-existent products. Therefore, it is imperative to use effective detection methods to identify fake users on the social media platform and close their accounts to prevent further spread of misinformation. Biliography Binlin, C., Jianming, F., & Jingwei, H. (2013). Detecting zombie followers in China microblog based on the number of common friends. International Journal of Advancements in Computing Technology, 5(2). Craig, D., Cai, H., & Lv, J. (2016). Mapping and Managing Chinese Social Media Entertainment: A Conversation with Heng Cai, Chinese Media Entrepreneur. International Journal of Communication (19328036), 10. Viviani, M., & Pasi, G. (2017). Credibility in social media: opinions, news, and health information—a survey. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery, 7(5), e1209. Voorveld, H. A. (2019). Brand Communication in Social Media: A Research Agenda. Journal of Advertising, 48(1), 14-26. Yang, K. C., Varol, O., Davis, C. A., Ferrara, E., Flammini, A., & Menczer, F. (2019). Arming the public with artificial intelligence to counter social bots. Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies, 1(1), 48-61. ...
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Tutor Answer

School: Duke University



Social Media and Credibility
Institutional Affiliation




The rise of the popular social media site in China, Weibo, has led to various successes
as well as multiple criticisms which have been directed towards the site because of the social
influencers who will market the goods to the customers. The platform which contains
microblogs has been used for social, political, and commercial reasons. Following its
establishment back in 2007, the site has managed to grow to be quite popular in the country
with over 300 million people as the platform users. An increase has been seen over the years
further leading to the social media platform's success in the country.
Over the past few years, the success of the platform has highly focused on
commercial aspects further leading to the increase in the number of influencers who will not
only use the application but will employ the platform to market products sold by other
organizations. This aspect has further led to the development of skepticism since the increase
in the number of influencers on the platform will be closely related to the fake follower
industry. A good number of influencers have managed to buy followers to attract companies
which may allow them to market their products.
Furthermore, the fake followers have also led the social media users to distrust the
influencers on quality of the item being sold. The fake following has further led to the
development of fake reviews on products which have led the consumers to have trouble when
distinguishing whether the brands are reliable or not. The recent discovery of "zombie
followers" has affected the credibility of these influencers since it will be hard to determine
whether the influencer who may be used to establish or market a company's brand online will
have genuine followers who may buy the item or not. The fake followers will later lead to an
increase in the follower's commercial value.



Social media platforms have been employed by most organizations to not only
increase their following but to also build the company's brand image. Weibo, as one of the
social media platforms used in China, has managed to provide the organizations with such
lucrative opportunities. However, the lucrative opportunities have further given way to fake
accounts which have been created to increase not only an influencer's image but also the
company as well since the more popular the company is on the platform, the more products
you can sell. The application, which has some similar features which can be found on
Twitter, was first released back in 2007. The platform grew with time with the number of
followers almost being a quarter of the country's population. The number of followers on the
site will highly revolve around the increase in the number of people who used the internet
during the 1990s and 2000s (Harwit, 2014, p. 1059).
There have been reports which have been made on the existence of fake followers
who are quite hard to avoid. Efforts have been made by various organizations such as
Unilever to remove the influencers who have a fake following and who may attract such
companies when considering brand marketing (Neff, J. (2019, p. 1-2). The fake followers can
be highly seen on Facebook, Twitter, and Weibo as well. The statuses of the users of the
accounts have been raised all because a small fee was paid further leading to the existence of
the micro-economy which exists in the country. "Zombie followers" have been employed to
raise an influencer's or company's status, also attracting more customers towards the account
since the customers will purchase services as well as goods which will be preferred by many.
The credibility of the information which can be found online has been undermined
since some of the products preferred by the many followers as a result of the zombie



followers will not be of quality. One of the articles published in 2019 has managed to provide
information with some of the social media platforms which have made efforts to delete or
eliminate the fake accounts which have been established on the platforms. Facebook and
Twitter have managed to close down over 1 billion fake accounts which have been employed
to market products. Unilever has managed to employ various detection methods which have
been used to identify the fake accounts which have been established in the social media. The
company profoundly noticed that a phoney ratio could be seen when it came to Dove
Research which has been carried out has managed to show that the number of users
who will use Weibo will be over 300 million. A social media crackdown which was carried
out between 2018 and 2019 managed to show that close to forty per cent of the accounts
present on the platform are fake. The crackdown further focused on one of the report
earnings, which revolved around one of the teen idols in the country, Cai Xukun. His new
music video managed to gain likes from one-third of the 300 million users who use the
platform. The report further proved that the number of likes could be considered as bogus due
to the fractious universe, which exists and revolves around social media as seen in the
country. The popularity of the video highly focused on the fake accounts which had been
bought by agencies to further lead to the inflation of likes as seen in this particular platform
(Minter, 2019, par. 1-4).
The same has been seen when it comes to commercial transactions which are
associated with the social media platform. Chinese e-commerce has relied on various
websites with the inclusion of Weibo. Influencers have been used globally to market goods of



companies which will highly be seen on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and in Weibo
(Knight, 2018, par. 7-9).

However, the most businesses and customers have endured

suffering since some of the followings which will be used to show which item will be

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Tutor went the extra mile to help me with this essay. Citations were a bit shaky but I appreciated how well he handled APA styles and how ok he was to change them even though I didnt specify. Got a B+ which is believable and acceptable.

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