Kent Heckel, a popular Youtube vlogger and Instagrammer with 11k follows on his main account, @kentresting, decided to use his latest vlog entry to detail his venture into the world of the social media “black market.”
The story goes like this:
“There’s some kid who can get any account he wants”
After appearing in a film which earned him a trip to Buffer Festival–the so-called “Oscars for content creators”–Kent reached a level of fame which evidently caught the attention of execs at Facebook (owner of Instagram), who invited him to join an exclusive group called “Video Creators on Facebook.” While he wouldn’t reveal the names of the group’s other members, he emphasizes that these were very notable figures, all of which would receive Facebook updates days before the general public.
He quickly realized, however, that he was one of the few members of this select group without a verified account. Making use of his newfound connection at Facebook, he sent an email inquiring into the possibility that they could verify his account. Soon afterwards, it was done.
“Hey @photo, welcome back to Instagram”
Feeling cocksure after his request was so promptly acceded to, Kent decided to push the envelope further. He asked his connection, who he refers to as Mr. A, if he can be given the inactive Instagram handle @photo. The next day, it’s done.
So, Kent continues scooping up unused handles like @hiphop and @keft, among others. Soon he’s picking up dozens at a time. A rumor begins to swirl in social media circles that “there’s some kid who can get any account he wants.” He even gets his friends, including Kai, in on the action.
Then one day Mr. A tells Kent that he’s leaving Facebook. The joyride, it seems, is over. But Kent has already tasted the sweet fruit of social media manipulation and is unable to look back.
“There are people doing things that you don’t know about and don’t like.”
So, after asking around, he learns that Telegram, the messaging app which as of today was removed from the App store (coincidence?) is the place where one can equip themselves with all the powers of a Mr. A–but at a price.
He then details his own sordid experiences on Telegram buying handles from secretive figures, one of which, as he mind-bogglingly explains, had the power to command 117 million followers. In a lengthy bit, he showcases his purchase of @daddy for a fraction of a bitcoin.
The most shocking part of the whole experience is when he scrolls down his dashboard on Telegram, revealing numerous chats, some of which have over 100k missed messages. It’s not just that followers, likes, comments, etc. can be bought, it’s that they are being bought in humongous qualities, with seemingly endless agents acting as both supply and demand.
Ultimately, Kent explains, he wants to show the viewer that, as far as social media goes, “there are people doing things that you don’t know about and don’t like.” But, he continues, don’t blame him just because he’s involved, too. “Don’t hate the player,” he says, and, well, you know where he’s going from there…
With all this in mind, he still wholeheartedly believes–and is reinforced in this belief by a conversation with popular Instagrammer @dunk–that what wins on social media isn’t purchased bots or inauthentic likes, but good ol’ content and distribution. “2018,” he concludes cheerily, “is the year of good content.”