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Facebook cracks down on fake accounts and false likes

Alex Masters

facebook like inverted 300x250 Facebook cracks down on fake accounts and false likesYesterday Facebook ramped up its efforts to crack down on the number of fake accounts and false ‘Likes’ that plague the world’s largest social network. Now that Facebook is a public trading company, transparency over the true number of authentic user accounts and the authenticity of Facebook likes is more important than ever. If people are going to invest their money in Facebook, they need to know that the quantity of users and levels of engagement are genuine.

Last month Facebook stated that when the crackdown on fake accounts and false likes begins: “On average, less than 1% of likes on any given page will be removed, providing they and their affiliates have been abiding by our terms. These newly improved automated efforts will remove those likes gained by malware, compromised accounts, deceived users, or purchased bulk likes.”

The 1% of likes only accounts for the number of fake likes a page is likely to accumulate organically. If however, the admin of a page has been purchasing likes from a third-party, the percentage decrease will be far greater. The level of percentage decrease will show up any companies or individuals that have been artificially inflating their respective levels of popularity. I’m sure there will be a few standout cases that will surface over the next few days, which could be very damaging to the reputations of any companies participating in such black-hat marketing tactics.

Independent Facebook Page tracking service PageData is already displaying significant changes to the top 10 Facebook pages measured by ‘Likes’, as the screenshot below shows. Zynga’s official Facebook page for its Texas HoldEm Poker game has seen a drop of more than 103,000 likes over the past 24 hours. Most of which are likely due to the change’s Facebook have made, although exact numbers are impossible to determine.

facebook pages top10 final 300x225 Facebook cracks down on fake accounts and false likesPurchasing Facebook ‘Likes’, Twitter ‘Followers’ and even YouTube views is as simple as browsing to a site that offers these services, selecting the number you would like purchase and then paying the amount specified. On sites such as Shimpy.com, 10,000 Facebook likes costs as little as £100. On the same site you can purchase a huge 60,000 Twitter followers for a mere £140. With just a few mouse clicks you can create an account that appears hugely popular in a matter of hours since its creation.

These kinds of numbers can completely alter the perception of a brand or individual, making a product appear far more popular, and a person appear far more relevant than they really are. This has a knock-on effect for potential advertisers on the Facebook platform too. If a significant amount of Facebook’s user base is comprised of fake accounts, then the potential audience for an advertising campaign could be far smaller than it initially appears.

Fake accounts and artificial levels of engagement are problems that all social networks face. Hopefully these changes will help reduce the volume of fake Facebook accounts and give the public a better indication of the genuine number of users Facebook really has, and offer accurate levels of popularity for brands and individuals on the network.

At the end of the day, if the numbers can’t be trusted then the information is worthless and Facebook becomes less relevant. Now it’s time for Twitter, the network with arguably the largest number of fake users, turn to follow suit.

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  • Tweaver

    I fake like this. LOL

  • Tweaver

    I fake like your comment.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TGRHXDXROYWNIF2AHE5DTPFZ4U Pensieve

    You know, I’ve heard that and it has been the one thing that has kept me from getting a Facebook account – knowing you can’t truly close it.

  • PaulOnBooks

    No, the argument is that the fake accounts are bots – they automatically search out and contact other accounts with the aim of attracting reciprocation. Thus, Facebook and Twitter consist primarily of bots talking to bots.


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