Facebook aims to eliminate fake 'Likes'

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Facebook's cracking down on fake 'Likes', with an update to its system designed to automatically detect and remove them.

The company's acknowledging the fact that many millions of fake profiles are in existence, 'Liking' pages and brands. They come in a variety of ways: malware, compromised accounts, deceived users and purchased bulk Likes.

In July, as part of an investigation, the BBC set up a fake bagel business on Facebook and found that its products received thousands of Likes, despite not actually existing outside the BBC's imagination. Most originated from the Philippines and Egypt.

"A Like that doesn't come from someone truly interested in connecting with a Page benefits no one," says Facebook on its security blog.

"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."

The new system is designed to spot the fake accounts automatically. Facebook reckons that the changes will mean that only around one percent of Likes on any given page will be removed as a result of the changes - although that's still a lot in terms of numbers.

It will mean, though, that advertisers can more confidently rely on the data provided by the company.

"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," says Facebook.

"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."