An image seemingly showing a woman in China working on dozens of iPhones to manipulate App Store rankings has gone viral on the web.
The image was uploaded to Weibo with the caption: “Hardworking App Store ranking manipulation employee”. It shows a woman seated in front of around 100 iPhone 5C handsets, apparently downloading, installing then uninstalling apps repeatedly to boost their App Store rankings.
The photo has appeared on various tech sites, and Tencent Technology speculated that it shows evidence of a ranking manipulation factory of sorts, although it has no source and is unverified.
Another photo making the rounds supposedly shows the pricing for the service—70,000 yuan to break into the top 10 free apps and 405,000 yuan per week to keep it there.
The speculation might not be too far-fetched, considering similar app ranking manipulation services are available on Taobao. According to Tencent, around 100 fake ratings can be created within an hour or two, although it’s unclear how much of an impact this actually has on the App Store.