In Russia, there is a vending machine that sells social networkÂ followers and likes. There is one such electronic vending machine located at a Moscow shopping center. The vending machine has a giant touch screen and offers to boost your Instagram follower count by 100 followers. The electronic followers would only cost 100 Russian rubles or around $1.75. Consumers can also purchase 100 likes on one of their social networking photos for about half the price of 50 rubles.
The vending machine works by creating fake or bot accounts on the social network and automatically liking and following your account. The bot accounts are not real people and can only make limited responses and likes. Aside from offering followers and likes, the vending machine also offers a taking a picture or a “selfie” and prints out physical copies of them on a slot on the vending machine. The machine works on popular international social networking accounts such as Instagram, but it mostly works with Vkontakte, a popular Russian Social networking site used by millions of Russians.
Selling bot accounts for likes and follows is becoming a big business in Russia. According to journalist Alexey Kovalev, there are even services that offer up to 50,000 new followers for 16,000 rubles (or around $280), 100,000 followers for 32,000 rubles ($560), and 150,000 followers for 48,000 rubles ($841). The service claims that the followers will comment on posts and immediately like any photos you have posted online through your account. Kovalev has seen these vending machines all over Moscow, and claims to have heard reports of many of them appearing in many other Russian cities.