Facebook declares war on fake 'like' sales to increase user profiling accuracy for advertisers


By John McCarthy | Opinion editor

October 7, 2014 | 3 min read

Facebook has declared war on 'fake likes' accounts in a bid to clean up the site, making it more valuable to brands and advertisers.

Facebook claims fake likes lack value

The social network has said that it will remove likes sold to page administrators in spam schemes created by questionable accounts.

Those selling page likes for money to boost the profile of specific accounts will be targeted by Facebook as these likes are often activated through fake or hacked accounts, additionally, consumers are unlikely to engage with future content and the ads that accompany the profile.

Last month, the site cracked down on fake likes, removing an average one per cent of high traffic accounts' followers - a move which saw Lady Gaga's official page drop by 34,000 likes.

Facebook's site integrity engineer Matt Jones said in a blog post: “To make it harder for these scams to be profitable, our abuse-fighting team builds and constantly updates a combination of automated and manual systems that help us catch suspicious activity at various points of interaction on the site, including registration, friending, liking, and messaging.

“We also limit likes per account to make spammers' operations less efficient. When like activity gets unusually high, we take additional steps to make sure the likes are legitimate, such as asking for additional verification. These measures often help slow down or deter the activity completely.”

Jones added: “Fraudulent likes are going to do more harm than good to your page. Our algorithm takes page engagement rates into account when deciding when and where to deliver a page's legitimate ads and content, so pages with an artificially inflated number of likes are actually making it harder on themselves to reach the people they care about most.”

Almost $2bn has been acquired from spammers through legal action with Facebook targeting re-offending spammers.

Facebook is far from the only social network affected by such ploys - earlier this year it was revealed almost a tenth of rival Twitter accounts are bot-run with the majority simply designed as spam users.


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