Once upon a time, selling “likes” on Facebook was a multimillion dollar business. Now, however, it has been all but fully destroyed thanks to efforts made by Facebook itself. This has been confirmed not just by the social media network, but also by those who were once involved in selling likes.
There were around 40 different groups around that had created a business out of receiving financial compensation for adding likes to a Facebook page. Now, there are only around 10 left. Those that are still around seem to be more honest in the fact that the likes they deliver are actually fake.
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While this seems to be at least marginally more honest than the previous “like banks” that existed, it also shows that Facebook still has some work to do before they can truly announce that they have won the battle. Nevertheless, they have been making great strides towards achieving that. They have significantly advanced the technology used in pattern recognition, which means that the vast majority of exchanges that were being used in order to promote fake likes have now been stopped. Indeed, such things like fake accounts, click farms and malware are now virtually non-existent in Facebook. Through the various technological advances that Facebook has made, it is now all but impossible for a business that promises others fake likes to actually deliver on this promise.
In fact, over the the last six months, we’ve tripled the number of likes we’ve detected and blocked before they ever reached a Page. Because of this effort, a large number of the vendors that were attempting to sell inauthentic likes to Facebook Page administrators have closed their businesses.
One site that actually was in the business of selling fake likes had to agree with what Facebook is saying. Indeed, other social media followers concurred. They all mentioned that their services, or services that they know of, had to be closed down because the changes that have been made by Facebook were so comprehensive.
Facebook is trying to be fair in their actions as well. If a page is suspected of having fake likes, these likes will be removed. However, the administrators of such pages will be notified of this, so that they are aware of the changes. To date, they say that they have spoken to some 200,000 page administrators so that they are aware of these facts. They have also been provided with information on how to make sure that the likes they receive are genuine and what the benefits of this are.
Page likes offer value as they make your adverts more effective and efficient, provide you with insights into who cares about your business and give your business credibility on Facebook. However, having likes is not an end in itself. Your business will see much greater value if you use Facebook to achieve specific business objectives, such as driving in-store sales or app downloads.
Not only does Facebook explain why having genuine likes is important to a business, they also explain why fake likes actually have the potential to be damaging to a site. One of the main reasons for this is that it gives page admins a false sense of security. Being popular is not just about having a lot of likes. Rather, it is about having a lot of engagement. When fake likes are purchased, none of these will actually engage with the business at all. Facebook, at the same time, doesn’t promote pages based solely on the number of likes that they have. Rather, they promote those pages that have a high degree of engagement. Hence, even if a business invests in hundreds of thousands of fake likes, a page may not actually become more visible.
In order to assist businesses in finding legitimate likes, Facebook has released information on how to use page insights to their advantage. This information shows how well a page is performing overall, which posts have the heaviest engagement and when the audience that engages with the page is actually on Facebook. This information is comparable to Google Analytics and can be used to drive further traffic and engagement to the page.
Facebook is making these efforts for a variety of reasons. Firstly, they want to make sure that businesses are fairly represented and that anybody has a chance to become popular by honest hard work. A second important element, however, is found in the potential dangers associated with fake likes.
First, there are click farms, where individuals are paid to ‘like’ a certain page. Second, there are fake accounts that don’t represent real people. Finally, there are self-compromised and compromised accounts: in this case, accounts are infected with malware – with or without users’ consent.
These accounts are the most dangerous of all, as they not only increase the number of likes that a page has unfairly, they start to send messages to many other people. Most Facebook users have received messages like this, for instance when there are sudden postings on their timeline advertising fake RayBan sunglasses through a friend whom they know would never engage in such business. This is another reason why Facebook is cracking down on fake likes strongly, as they want to make sure that users are safe and protected on the social media platform as well. Anyone who has ever inadvertently posted a fake brand advertisement will know that this is not a nice situation to go through. It means they have to tell all their friends that their account has been compromised, and many actually feel violated as a result. Hopefully, these types of incidents will also be significantly reduced thanks to these new efforts.