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Three Men Arrested in Thailand for Running a Clickfarm to Boost Engagement

Using 474 iPhones and 347,200 SIM cards!

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When companies do not get enough likes, ratings, comments, and traffic from people, they use bots. This is what a report by White Ops in May 2017 indicated, saying that ad-fraud sites make up roughly 20 percent of ad-serving sites on the web, despite having no human traffic at all.

A recent incident in Thailand is one of the best proofs of that statistic.

After raiding a rented home near the Cambodian border by the Thai police, it was discovered that three Chinese nationals namely Wang Dong, Niu Bang, and Ni Wenjin were operating a clickfarm.

Photo taken from Facebook User Jiggie Jaa

Officers found metal racks hanged with a total of 474 iPhone 5S, 5C, and 4s wired to computer monitors. There were also 347,200 SIM cards of Thai mobile phone operators found in the rented home.

Acting Pol Col Benjaphol Rodsawasdi, immigration chief of the district Sa Kaeo, said that the three told them a company in China (name withheld) supplied the phones to them and paid them 150,000 baht (more than US$ 4,400) a month for the operation.

And for what? To boost engagement, through generating fake page views, likes, and shares, in China’s dominating messaging app, WeChat. One of the best ways to sell products is to make the users think that the company has lots of supporters and customers, which can be artificially be made through bots.

The trio had to do it in Thailand because of the country’s relatively cheap smartphone usage fees, said reports.

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Photos taken from Facebook User Jiggie Jaa

Police were investigating how the group was able to bring many mobile phones and acquire such number of SIM cards from local service providers, since the users’ records need to be enlisted as required by law.

They were able to identify that 112,200 SIM cards were from Advanced Info Service, 131,000 from True Move and 104,000 from DTAC.

Previous reports say that the three were arrested on several charges including overstaying their visas, working without a permit, using unregistered SIM cards, and smuggling.

Source: The Bangkok Post

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