TALLAHASSEE — A social media company formerly based in Palm Beach, Florida, and accused of selling millions of "fake followers" or "bots" to celebrities, professional athletes, comedians and actors across the country, has reached a settlement with the state of Florida.
According to the Florida Attorney General's Office, Devumi Inc., Devumi, LLC and its owner German Calas Jr., promised customers increased traffic on their social media when it actually sold "automated bot traffic" from fake social media accounts. The fake accounts enabled social media influencers to deceptively increase social media followers and look like actual people engaging in social media activity, the Attorney General's Office said.
“Social media fraud is serious deception and can give users unwarranted influence," Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said in a statement. "Through the use of bots, consumers may be tricked into believing a product, person or message is much more popular than it actually is. It should go without saying, don’t believe everything you see on the internet and this is just one example of how technology can be used to create false realities.”
The settlement includes Devumi and Calas paying $50,000 in fees and costs to the Attorney General's Office and being permanently banned from future use of its previous practices, according to Moody's office.