From Republican presidential candidates to celebrities and beyond, the practice of buying Twitter followers to increase perceived popularity has become somewhat of a talking point on the internet lately. Now a senior Arab scholar, Sheikh Abdullah, is contending that it is, in fact, a sin within Islam. He’s reported to have issued a fatwa against buying Twitter followers, calling the practice “a lie and slander”.
It’s a bit of a hot topic at the moment in Saudi Arabia in particular, with the revelation that a number of celebrities and political figures over there had been bolstering their own numbers with paid services. Plus, in the States, presidential candidate Mitt Romney was found to have participated a bit in follower buying himself, raising further ethical questions on how using hard numbers to represent popularity during a campaign might impact an election.
And it’s not only bloated celebrity profiles being implicated. On a smaller scale, it can make small bands and unknown entertainers look more popular than they actually are, which can give them a boost in interest with internet denizens just popping by. However, with Twitter followers potentially representing an audience which is worth its weight in gold in the marketing realm, it’s clear to see that buying Twitter followers could have some moral issues when it comes to online fraud.
And as celebrities are finding out, do you really want to be painted as, well, a little bit sad when the truth comes out? Saudi clinical psychologist Dr. Talal Thaqafi said in the same report:
…a person who pays money for the sake of increasing the number of followers has a weak and disturbed personality, and is unable to achieve that feat by any other means… [that kind of person] suffers from a sense of internal void, and by increasing the amount of followers, he or she satisfies such void, and draw attention to him or herself.
Now that’s an indictment if we’ve ever heard one. Between that and the Status People Fake Follower App making it easy to name and shame perps, the Twitter Follower Underground may not be that great a path to go down after all.
Does buying Twitter followers have a place in the online marketplace? Share your thoughts below!