In a scorching New York Times report this weekend (“The Follower Factory”
), Michael Symon was among the named celebrities who had purchased fraudulent Twitter followers from a shadowy company peddling social media influence
Duvemi, the company, reportedly has a stock of at least 3.5 million automated accounts, and sells them repeatedly. It has provided more than 200 million Twitter followers to celebrities looking to expand their digital reach.
Symon, the local celebrity chef, now has nearly 1 million followers. The Times investigation revealed that he’d purchased 100,000 followers from Duvemi in 2014 and an additional 500,000 in 2015. He’d also purchased bots in bulk in 2013.
“I thought it would drive traffic,” said Symon. “I thought it was going to be influencers and people in my field. It’s embarrassing.”