September 2, 2012
Facebook Vows To Crack Down On Fake ‘Likes’
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Facebook is on the lookout for counterfeit "likes" that originate from malware or other automated sources, and claim to have discovered a new way to deal with these possible violations of the popular social network's terms of service, officials from the website announced on Friday.
"A Like that doesn't come from someone truly interested in connecting with a Page benefits no one," Facebook security personnel explained in an August 31 blog post. "Real identity, for both users and brands on Facebook, is important to not only Facebook´s mission of helping the world share, but also the need for people and customers to authentically connect to the Pages they care about."
In order to make sure that all interactions between users and goods/services featured on Facebook pages are legitimate, they announced that they have stepped up efforts to automatically identify, eliminate and prevent falsified Likes originating from viruses, Trojans, compromised accounts, deceived users, or the purchase of mass Likes from third-party firms -- all of which were likely obtained through means that violate the website's policy.
The company claims that less and 1% of the Likes on any specific Page would be removed and that the average user will probably not even notice the changes. They emphasized that they have never allowed Likes to be bought or sold, noted that the improved automated detection systems "have been specifically configured to identify and take action against suspicious Likes," and added that they "only want people connecting to the Pages and brands with whom they have chosen to connect."
If the practice of paying for Likes or obtaining them through other unscrupulous means strikes you as odd, you aren't the only one. Peter Kafka of All Things Digital points out that there is "no logical reason" for individuals or companies to purchase fraudulent Likes for their Facebook pages, because it essentially does no good to communicate with an audience that has no interest in anything that they have to say.
Regardless, as Kafka said, "human nature prompts people to collect them, anyway."
According to ZDNet's Eileen Brown, Facebook admitted earlier this year that as many as 6% of their user accounts -- as many as 54 million total profiles -- could be fake. Brown added that a BBC investigation, in which the British news agency set up a profile page on the social network for a fake bagel company, showed that the majority of these Likes tend to originate from "countries such as Egypt and the Philippines."
"Hopefully this change by Facebook will also herald a change in brand behavior. Brands that recognize that it is not all about hitting scorecard metrics, but having meaningful engagement with fans through its page will see an improvement in real fan engagement," she added. "On the other hand, brands that previously focused on numbers, perhaps resorting to the purchase of Likes, might be dismayed to see their carefully crafted scorecard figures switch from green to red."