Facebook Says “No More” to Fake Likes and Fans
by smallbiztrends, Guest Blogger
- Created: September 6, 2012, 11:42 am
Small businesses and big brands have used a variety of ways to grow their networks on sites like Facebook. Using images and videos to engage followers, running contests, offering discounts in exchange for Liking a page and engaging in active discussion are all some ways that businesses have built their followings on Facebook.
Unfortunately, not all strategies are worthwhile or even permitted.
It’s a dirty little secret that some businesses have resorted to “buying Likes” of their business Pages. But that could soon be a thing of the past, as Facebook announces it is cracking down on fake fans.
Facebook says it has never allowed businesses (or individuals, for that matter) to purchase fans or likes in order to inflate their apparent popularity. However, underground places where fans and Likes can be bought have cropped up. That underground is not even hidden – ads abound online advertising places where one can buy Facebook fans or Likes.
Businesses engaging in such risky activities will have to pay the consequences.
In a blog post by its security team at the end of August, Facebook announced a new automated system for detecting and removing fraudulent likes, noting:
“A Like that doesn't come from someone truly interested in connecting with a Page benefits no one. 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. 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. As such, we have recently increased our automated efforts to remove Likes on Pages that may have been gained by means that violate our Facebook Terms.”
This initiative is meant to improve the integrity of the Facebook platform, as well as enhance brands’ engagement with their fans and provide a more accurate platform for measuring demographics and other data from fans and customers. Because a higher percentage of a brand’s likes will now be users who actually want to connect with the page, brands can have a more engaged and relevant fan base as well as a more accurate read about their real customers.
Facebook has already taken some steps to prevent fraudulent Likes. This new crackdown is designed to find and remove Likes that were obtained by malware, hacked accounts, coercion of users, or purchased in bulk by brands that wanted to quickly grow their network on the site, in violation of Facebook’s terms of service. However, Facebook stated that it expects less than 1% of page Likes to be removed as part of the clean up, at least for brands that have been abiding by Facebook’s terms of service.
Facebook also stated that brands should be wary of marketing companies or services that claim to be able to quickly grow your Facebook network. Brands should make sure that these services use legitimate marketing practices that don’t violate Facebook’s terms by purchasing Likes or utilizing fake accounts or spambots. Brands that notice suspicious activity or believe their account may have been compromised can visit facebook.com/hacked.
So what is the lesson? Simple: it’s a bad idea to try to buy Facebook Likes or Fans to make your company Facebook Page look more popular. At best, it may be a waste of money because fraudulent Likes could simply disappear from your account. Worse, you may find your company’s Facebook page suspended as being in violation of Facebook’s TOS. And your company could end up with PR egg on its face, such as when “bought Fans” are painfully obvious.
About the Author
My name is Anita Campbell. I run online communities and information websites reaching over 4 million small business owners, stakeholders and entrepreneurs annually, including Small Business Trends, a daily publication about small business issues, and BizSugar.com, a small business social media site.
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