The PhoneFarm, costing VND1 billion ($41,190), is widely utilized by communities engaged in social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok. These farms consist of a motherboard connecting 20-22 smartphone circuit boards. In the image above, we see a PhoneFarm constructed by Nguyen Duc Hung, a 24-year-old resident of Quang Ninh province. Hung has effectively employed this setup to generate substantial social media interactions.
Hung acknowledged that utilizing the device is deemed fraudulent according to social media service regulations. He expressed, "Essentially, I am engaging in activities that are prohibited by these platforms. Nonetheless, due to the considerable demand in the market and the absence of any specific prohibition under Vietnamese law, I can operate without legal repercussions."
According to his statement, the individual mentioned that he initiated the construction of the system in October 2022 and dedicated eight months to its completion. In an effort to ensure quality control, Hung made a deliberate choice to procure components and personally develop software for the device instead of opting for services or purchasing a pre-made product.
Hung's PhoneFarm consists of a total of 22 circuit boards sourced from Samsung Galaxy S7 phones. These circuit boards are seamlessly connected to the main motherboard using both USB-A and USB-C cables.
The homemade boxes come at a price of approximately VND14 million ($573.71), which is significantly more affordable compared to purchasing from a third-party provider. Creating an entire PhoneFarm like Hung's requires an investment of over VND500 million, excluding expenses for servers, operational computers, internet systems, and other necessary infrastructure.
The entire system is overseen by a central computer equipped with two monitors. One monitor is dedicated to monitoring the current status of active phones, while the second one is utilized for effectively managing connections and resolving any issues that may arise. The room housing this setup is kept cool through the utilization of air conditioners and fans, ensuring proper heat dissipation.
Social media machine earns operator $1,800 a month
Hung's system is powered by custom software that he developed himself, which required an investment of VND250 million and seven months of dedicated work. In addition to the software, other devices and infrastructures were also incorporated into the PhoneFarm room setup, resulting in a total cost of approximately VND1 billion.
The PhoneFarm system is specifically designed to boost engagement on social media platforms by increasing views, likes, and comments. According to Hung, the operating expenses for running the system amount to VND25 million per month, with a significant portion allocated to power and Internet connections. He further mentioned that he earns around VND40-45 million ($1,650-1,850) on a monthly basis through this system. However, similar services aimed at generating interactions face limitations imposed by Facebook due to violations of community standards. YouTube and TikTok also prohibit the use of bots to inflate view and comment counts. Despite these restrictions, the problem persists as developers continuously update software to bypass detection.