Social Media

Facebook gets serious about paid brand likes – starts deleting

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If you can’t believe how popular a certain brand is on Facebook then have a look at the number of likes they have over the next few days, because Facebook says it’s increasing its efforts to delete fake ones.

The company says that it has always had systems in place to remove ill-gotten likes but in order to protect the integrity of the whole like system it’s launching a campaign to remove brands’ unreal likes.

Facebook says this automated process will affect only about 1% of likes on most brands’ pages but it could be bad news for companies that tried to boost their social media value by purchasing likes.

“When a Page and fan connect on Facebook, we want to ensure that connection involves a real person interested in hearing from a specific Page and engaging with that brand’s content.”

Describing the use of fake likes as “harmful to all users and the internet as a whole” Facebook says that bulk buying likes has always been against its terms of use and has never been permitted by the company.

The real problem here is not for major brands, which will inevitably have some ‘fake likes’ among their hundreds of thousands, but for small businesses which may have spent money on an unscrupulous social media management company thinking they were gaining valuable fans.

Facebook says that by removing fake likes they will be able to provide brands with more accurate measurement of their users.

“These improvements to our site integrity systems benefit both users and brands alike. Users will continue to connect to the Pages and Profiles they authentically want to subscribe to, and Pages will have a more accurate measurement of fan count and demographics. This improvement will allow Pages to produce ever more relevant and interesting content, and brands will see an increase in the true engagement around their content.”

And it’s not just paid likes that Facebook is after.  As part of a wider effort in the company (the company reported last month that about 8.7% of its users – about 80,000 – are “fake accounts”), Facebook is removing likes gotten through malware, hacked accounts, and even “deceived users.”

This isn’t just a problem for Facebook; Twitter frequently removes fake accounts and followers.

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Piers Dillon Scott
Piers Dillon-Scott is co-editor of The Sociable and writes about stuff he finds. He likes technology, media, and using the Oxford comma (because it just makes sense).