Buying Instagram likes and followers — and the influencer status they confer — is insanely easy. Through various websites, you can purchase as many as 10,000 followers for under $70. So it's not entirely surprising that these markers of status are now available at the touch of a screen.
Journalist Vasily Sonkin spotted this vending machine in an upscale shopping center near the Kremlin in Moscow. For 50 Russian rubles (just $.89), it lets you buy 100 fake likes, and for 100 rubles ($1.77) you can boost your following by 100. It also takes selfies and prints Instagram photos, and it can sell you fake followers and likes for VK, the Russian Facebook, Vice reports.
"You can now buy likes and followers through a vending machine in the mall under the Kremlin wall," Sonkin captioned his Instagram post. "This is the cyberpunk we deserve."
"Russia takes the worst excesses of capitalism to the extreme, so here's a vending machine in a mall for buying Likes for your Instagram pics," Sonkin's colleague Alexey Kovalev posted on Twitter.
While this particular device is located in Okhotny Ryad, a mall in central Moscow, Kovalev told Vice that there are plenty more of these around Moscow and in other Russian cities. "I saw one in a book shop of all places!" he said.
Sonkin's Instagram post generated a lot of interest. "That's a pretty good business model," one user wrote in Russian. "Genius!" wrote another. Three users asked questions like who makes the vending machine, and how they can get one themselves.
"Thank you for taking note of our device," Nazir Yusifov, the founder and CEO of Snatap, the company that produces the vending machine, wrote in the comments, adding the company's contact information. "Am I going to get a commission for drawing so much attention to you?" Sonkin jokingly asked Yusifov.