For many Facebook users, “Liking” something means expressing appreciation for a friend’s funny photo, a favorite athlete’s profile page, or a ‘LOL’-worthy joke about Mitt Romney’s chin.
But for other people Facebook “Likes” are a big part of driving up awareness of a particular product or cause. For some of those people, acquiring Likes is even worth fibbing and creating fake user accounts.
For its part, Facebook sees fake Likes as a major problem. For a site that depends almost entirely on its viability as an advertising portal, it’s critical that the “Like” remain a legitimate form of social currency.
To help reduce the number of counterfeit Likes in distribution, Facebook Inc will reportedly begin a campaign to eliminate any and all Likes created by spammers and illegitimate marketers.
“Newly improved automated efforts will remove those Likes gained by malware, compromised accounts, deceived users, or purchased bulk Likes,” Facebook management recently noted.
“While we have always had dedicated protections against each of these threats on Facebook, these improved systems have been specifically configured to identify and take action against suspicious Likes.”
Facebook’s new campaign to stamp out fake Likes stems from an existing crusade to find and weed out fake accounts. The site estimates that about 1.5 per cent of its 955 million user accounts are “undesirable,” meaning they’re owned by spammers and intended to annoy or mislead legitimate users.
Getting rid of these undesirable accounts and their misleading Likes is absolutely critical for Facebook, which needs to show advertisers that it is a valuable marketing tool.
“I think what they’re intending to do is get a handle on it before it gets really out of control,” noted Gartner analyst, Brian Blau. “You can imagine no business wants to pay for advertising to fake accounts.”