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Shadowy Brokers Target Easy TikTok Money In New Scheme

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TikTok may have gotten a reprieve from Trump’s shutdown order after the government said it wouldn’t enforce the move following a court ruling on an injunction from top influencers, but influencers themselves are now becoming targets of the shady side of this game. 

Business Insider reports that someone on the TikTok inside has launched a scheme to take advantage of the app’s most popular users--and would-be fame and fortune seekers--by charging them $1,000 or more to “upgrade” their account levels. And, so, the influencers are influenced ... 

Apparently, TikTok creators are paying $1,000 and more to gain verification on the TikTok through a shadowy group of brokers who claim to have sources within the app. 

As app users explained to Business Insider, several proxy agencies are promoting their services to verify TikTok accounts, and users have been quoted up to $5,000 for the service. 

“It’s very commonplace...If you have access to someone at TikTok who could do it, it would be dumb not to do it. It’s easy money for the third party,” one app user said.

While perhaps “dumb” not to do it on the part of shadowy brokers, on the part of TikTok influencers, they’re paying for something they’ll get for free, eventually.  

Account verification is available to everyone based on the activity and followers, but if you pay to play, you can get it instantly. 

Demand does, indeed, dictate this scheme. 

On the various discussion boards, there are hundreds of TikTok users asking for instant verification.

TikTok, currently the hottest social media platform, is the only target for a verification buyout’ black market. Most of the other social networks have comparable verification of status symbols.

Back in 2017, the media reported that Instagram users were paying up to $15,000 for Instagram's blue badge, a status usually reserved for the celebrities and top influencers.

In general, being verified boosts a creator’s credentials with brands and agencies and can help with marketing. 

People with verified accounts can earn a lot of money by promoting brands and products in their updates, with some companies willing to pay influencers thousands for a single post.

Related: The Gold Rally Has Finally Run Out Of Steam

Micro-influencers with followers in the thousands range can make thousands of dollars per post, while social media stars with followings of more than 1 million can make more than $100,000 for a single promotional post. 

Brands typically pay influencers based on their reach, as measured by their number of followers. 

Still, there are many fake accounts out there, and verification is one way to weed them out and make sure you get recognized. 

Influencer fraud, including purchasing fake followers and creating fake personas, is expected to cost businesses $1.5 billion next year.

Today, 72% of major brands are spending big on influencer marketing. Brands are set to spend up to $15 billion on influencer marketing by 2022, up from as much as $8 billion last year, and up from $500 million in 2015. The next 12 months will see a massive 40%+ increase in spending on influencers. 

By Michael Kern for Safehaven.com

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