The practice of buying followers in bulk on various social media platforms is commonplace these days. The recent case of Indian rapper and producer Aditya Prateek Singh Sisodia, popularly known as 'Badshah', has invited fresh debate on this worst-kept secret among celebrities across the world.
The rapper has been accused of buying fake views for his 2019 music video 'Paagal'. On August 8, Mumbai Mirror reported that he has admitted to paying Rs 72 lakh to get 72 million fake views on this music video.
According to the police, he wanted to set a new world record of maximum likes within 24 hours on YouTube with this music video. Badshah was also questioned in connection to the rackets that allegedly sell fake followers and views to social media influencers.
A 2019 report by Institute of Contemporary Music Performance, a London-based independent music education provider, shows that this is not the first time celebrities across the world have paid a substantial amount to buy fake views, subscribers and likes in order to grow their audience.
The report stated that some of the world-renowned celebrities such as Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, and Kim Kardashian also use the same strategy to get traction on their Instagram accounts. As per the analysis, 46-48 per cent of their account followers are nothing but 'bot' accounts.
Here is the list of top 10 global celebrities with the highest number of fake followers, as per the report.
1. Ellen DeGeneres
According to the report by Institute of Contemporary Music Performance, popular American television host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres sits on number one position on the list with 58 per cent fake followers on Instagram. She currently has 92.4 million followers on Instagram account.
2. South Korean music band, BTS
On number two in the report comes the popular South Korean boy music band 'BTS', also known as Bangtan Boys. This week, the band emerged at No. 1 on Billboard's World Digital Song Sales chart with their latest song "My Time" from their recent album Map of the Soul: 7. The band has 48 per cent fake Instagram followers.
3. Kourtney Kardashian
As per the report, Kourtney Kardashian is placed third on the list with 49 per cent fake followers on the popular photo-sharing app Instagram. She has 99.2 million followers on Instagram.
4. Kim Kardashian
Fashion mogul Kim Kardashian, whose half of the wealth comes from her cosmetic and fragrance company KKW Beauty, is number four on the list of celebrities with highest number of fake followers on Instagram, as per the report. She currently has 184 million Instagram followers with 44 per cent of them being fake or bot accounts.
5. Khloe Kardashian
Khloe Kardashian, third member of the Kardashian family on this list, also shares the same number of fake followers as her sister, Kim Kardashian, the report shows. Sitting on the fifth rank, 44 per cent of Khloe's Instagram followers are fake. She has 119 million followers on Instagram as of now.
6. Deepika Padukone
As per the report, Bollywood's Deepika Padukone is ranked sixth on the list with 48 per cent of her followers on Instagram allegedly being 'bots'. The actor currently has 51.6 million followers on Instagram.
7. Katy Perry
Popular American singer and songwriter Katy Perry, 35, with 104 million followers on Instagram sits at number 7 position as 53 per cent fake followers, the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance report shows. The singer is expecting her first child with fiance Orlando Bloom and have been keeping her fans updated about her pregnancy during the lockdown.
8. Miley Cyrus
Popular American singer Miley Cyrus is on the number eight position on the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance list. The singer currently has 113 million followers on Instagram account. Earlier this week, she surprised her fans by dropping a teaser of her upcoming single, 'Midnight Sky'.
9. Ariana Grande
Florida-based popular American singer Ariana Grande has a total number of 197 million followers on Instagram. She has been ranked ninth among celebrities with highest number of fake followers on their Instagram account in the report.
10. Priyanka Chopra Jonas
Global icon and an internationally acclaimed singer and actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas is also on the list. She sits on the tenth position with allegedly 46 per cent fake followers on her Instagram account, the report shows. Currently, Priyanka has 56.1 million followers on her Instagram account.
Facebook-owned Instagram, in the past, has said that it would remove inauthentic likes, followers, and comments from accounts that use third-party or illegal apps to grow their audience base.