Fake Spotify and Apple Music Profiles on Instagram
An investigative study by ProPublica has revealed that Spotify and Apple Music’s artist’s profiles have been exploited to gain Instagram verified profiles. In this Quick and Easy process, the alleged Scammers create fake artist’s profiles and upload music which is often nothing more than basic looping beats. The streaming number of those tracks is boosted illegally; in addition, articles are brought to promote those artists on legitimate websites. The mix of streaming numbers, a verified artist check on the artist’s Spotify profile, and external media coverage are enough for the Instagram verification checkmark.
A song from the Spotify artist profile of DJ Dr 6ix has been streamed almost 60,000 times but included 90 Seconds of dead-air and credits an apparent made-up writer. Spotify revealed that it had identified artificial streaming of 173 profiles as shown by Pro Public and removed more than 100 artists from its platform.
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DJ Dr. 6ix, whose real name is Dr. Martin Jugenburg, is a plastic surgeon in Toronto who derailed his medical career after his Physician-influencer tendencies led to a Six-month medical license suspension. By Utilizing this Spotify Profile of DJ Dr 6ix, Jugenburg could secure a verification badge for his Instagram account. ProPublica determines that this was only one instance among the largest account verification scheme ever uncovered.
Since 2021, hundreds of people from different fields like Crypto entrepreneurs, Models, and Reality Show Stars have been clients to be part of improperly verified as musicians on Instagram. Instagram parent Company Meta has removed more than 300 Instagram Profiles that applied for fraudulent verification badges and continues to review accounts.
Among the accounts involved were those of Mike Vazquez and Lexie Salameh, both of them the Stars of the MTV Reality show “Siesta Key.” They have received the online verification as musicians rather than that of their TV work. Both profiles lost their verification badges two weeks before the ProPublica investigative report.
This Scheme may have generated millions of dollars for its handlers or Scammers, but it shows how easily major social and musical platforms can be exploited to create fake profiles for the sake of money. Moreover, it also emphasizes how Instagram’s growth and reputation, combined with lacking customer support, has led to the vibrant black market in verification services.
False Verification Steps:
Step 1: A Client creates content showing him like a musician.
Step 2: Spotify and Apple Music profiles are created for the client, and fake music streams are uploaded to make him popular.
Step 3: Paid articles about the client’s songs are published to add legitimacy.
Step 4: Google Search Engine indexes the client’s music and article and generates a Knowledge Panel that brands the user as a musical artist.
Step 5: The client edits his Instagram profile and portrays himself as a musician.
Step 6: The client’s Instagram account is submitted to Meta for verification, and if everything goes as planned, they will receive a blue check.