Internet rigging has become rampant in India, with people creating fake profiles and spoofing search algorithms to get IMDb credits and Google knowledge panels. Filmmakers, screenwriters and casting directors talk to the magazine about whether this is a worrying trend
Internet rigging has become rampant in India, with people creating fake profiles and spoofing search algorithms to get IMDb credits and Google knowledge panels. Film producers, screenwriters and casting directors talk to him magazine But is this a worrying trend?
As of last week, 17-year-old Firoz Choudhary Was listed as a vocalist on the IMDb page for Tom Cruise’s 2022 hit Top Gun: Maverick, His profile described him as an actor, musician and model in various capacities with several major English and Hindi films, including Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022) and Jayeshbhai Jordar (2022). A quick search for the teenager “from a small village in Uttar Pradesh” pulled up a verified profile on the music app Spotify and a Google knowledge panel (the snapshot dashboard visible with the search results).
Akash Noatia, an 18-year-old from Tripura, enjoys similar fame. Internet searches introduced him as a digital marketer and social media influencer, while Kishor’s IMDb profile counted his experience for films such as an actor, musical ‘supervision’ and title track singer (separately). Malang (2020), Sher Shah: (2021) and sooryavanshi (2021).
The Internet footprint of both Choudhury and Noatia is impressive, except that their artistic pursuits are inaccurate and the search is artificially constructed. At the time of writing, IMDb did not respond to our questions, but the platform did remove the filmography of three profiles we flagged.
Is Fake Visibility a Real Threat?
These are not isolated cases, but part of a wider galaxy of individuals who are gaming the system. Baid, a co-author of this article, followed Breadcrumbs when he first stumbled upon a fake profile of one Shubhankar Bagchi Last month on IMDb (see box), only to highlight a few dozen more – along with video tutorials on YouTube that explain how you can, among other things, have your own Google Knowledge Panel .
But this trend is not new. Hindi film screenwriter Varun Grover made a comment two years ago about a man claiming to be the author of the web-series. sacred games (2018-19), when the original writer, Pooja Tolani, had to wait “for a long time” and post screenshots of the show herself to get the right mention. Grover told Mumbai Mirror The man later admitted to wrongdoing in 2020 and “after chatting with him, I felt … plus, it’s hard to resist the joy of cheap thrills.”
IMDb, or Internet Movie Database, is considered one of the more reliable platforms for movie reviews and ratings internationally (red flags about the recent review bombing). A credits on the stage, in addition to being an aspirational endeavor, also serves as an artist’s resume in the filmmaking industry – especially for writers and technicians. Filmmaker Vishnuvardhan says, “Films are rated across multiple platforms, but given the global stature of IMDb, this is the first thing one wants.” Sher Shah: And Arrambam fame. Recently, while recruiting a Director of Production (DOP) for his upcoming project, the assistants gave him the IMDB profiles of two DoP recommendations. But will a fake profile get in the way of hiring real talent? “It won’t disturb the hiring process in any way,” he says. “We have enough time to call and check in, about one to two months, before we finalize new employees.”
However, making a place in the entertainment industry might not be his only ambition. “Other than cheating on social media platforms to get blue ticks or to gain bragging rights in front of your friends or to get something impressive [marketing] Collaboration, I don’t think he is getting any serious opportunity,” says Hindi film screenwriter Ankur Pathak. “Even if they are able to call themselves” [for selection]In a matter of one to two meetings the producer or director will be able to find out whether they have it or not. ,
Cringe pop—a genre of music often described as “so bad you can’t stop watching/hearing it”—could be another factor. Many of the self-compositions posted by these youngsters are either electronic remixes, high-octane electronic mashups or lyrics overwritten on pre-existing instrumentals/music. And the idea might be for his music to get some traction either way.
After August’s deep dive and a Twitter thread about young men from small towns trying to build fake clout caught public attention, when four different mascots Bagchi came forward to present their side in the comments. One wanted it to be removed, the other argued for his lack of information on the matter, the third apologized for the plan, and the last sought communication to defend himself. (But since there was no way to find out who was real and how Bad might help them in terms of dealing with their digital footprint, they didn’t escalate the conversation.)
But we think tech platforms should have accountability rather than teenagers. After all, if there is a flaw, there will be someone to take advantage of.
Meanwhile, in the entertainment industry, talent will always be out there. As Vishnuvardhana puts it, “Ultimately, it boils down to one thing: How do you feel when you meet them? What vibrations do they present? Do they understand the subject that is being dealt with and what Do they have the necessary sensibilities?” As far as finding potential talent online, he says, “after all, if they’re going to do a really good job, they’ll make it.”
‘Fake profiles can get you at the door, but nothing more’
Casting Bay co-founder Abhishek Banerjee and casting director of Alia Bhatt’s recent film Darlings and shows like mirzapur And Hades Why is it not easy to fool people in the industry?
“We are used to actors lying about their skills, their age. honestly, it [youngsters gaming the system] Doesn’t create a lot of problems for us as it is very easy to identify people with fake profiles. At the end of the day, whether you claim to have starred in blockbusters or have trained at the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute, you have to come in for an audition and perform in front of the camera.
I guess it goes to the technicians [or writers and singers] very. Logically, you can’t fake it for a long time. You can set foot in the door or make the first call, but on the next move, you have to work and that will remove the talent from the rest. So, I don’t see it as a big problem. We are all storytellers. It’s very difficult for someone to tell us a story!
IMDb is not our main source for profiles. We are well connected with theater groups apart from institutions, walk-ins, word of mouth etc. Sure, it’s easy to check profiles online, but Instagram is a better background check than an IMDB one.
In fact, I think the bigger problem is for them [the youngsters], There are a lot of people out there who impersonate directors, producers and casting directors. Recently, someone allegedly took around Rs 38,000 from a young man, stating that it was for the Casting Bay workshop. His father later came to our office and asked why we didn’t operate it. We closed our workshops two years ago.
There are so many fake profiles on Instagram that will randomly DM thousands of people and I’m pretty sure their success rate is 30-40%. [of people replying to them], I remember I saw a profile of Sriram Raghavan in which he had asked for actresses for his film. And I was like, ‘I’m casting for that. Who is there? This Sriram?’ These are things that we often encounter and which are more dangerous. Because there are a lot of young people who don’t know how to approach the right companies. So they will fall prey to such fakes.”