Abstract

Crowdsourcing is the structured cooperation of a large number of individuals to accomplish a specific goal. Benefits of crowdsourcing are manifold but there is also risk to misuse corresponding services for illegal or unethical behaviour. Crowdturfing is a special form of crowdsourcing and encompasses actions aimed at manipulating information on social media websites. Being a relatively new concept, crowdturfing has not yet received much attention in the literature. The paper investigates the effect of crowdsourcing activity on the social media platform Instagram. Using an experimental design, we set up three different Instagram profiles with varying degrees of popularity. We govern the popularity of a profile by means of crowdturfing. The paper studies how the number of followers, likes and comments influences the engagement of third-party individuals. Our results show that profiles with greater popu-larity do have it easier to gain more attention from others in the form of more followings. Further-more, we are able to show that Instagram is not robust towards crowdturfing activities as the popular-ity of content can be pushed through such non-organic activities.

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