Over the years, Facebook has earned nearly $2 billion in legal judgments against spammers, but it’s not stopping there. The next frontier? Fake likes.
“One area we’ve focused on for several years is fake likes,” Facebook site integrity engineer Matt Jones said in a blog post. “We have a strong incentive to aggressively go after the bad actors behind fake likes because businesses and people who use our platform want real connections and results, not fakes.”
Facebook has the technical means to detect fraudulent activity, but it is also urging business owners not to purchase fake likes.
“Fraudulent likes are going to do more harm than good to your Page. The people involved are unlikely to engage with a Page after liking it initially,” Jones wrote. “Our algorithm takes Page engagement rates into account when deciding when and where to deliver a Page’s legitimate ads and content, so Pages with an artificially inflated number of likes are actually making it harder on themselves to reach the people they care about most.”
Meanwhile, scammers often deliver these fake likes by less than honorable methods. They create fake accounts or hack into legitimate accounts to “like” content. As a result, Facebook’s system works to catch this activity, block the scammers, and delete the fake likes.
“Since these fraudulent operations are financially motivated businesses, we focus our energy on making this abuse less profitable for the spammers,” Jones wrote.
“As our tools have become more sophisticated, we’ve contributed some of our spam-fighting technology to the academic community as well,” Jones said, “in hopes of helping other companies combat similar problems.”
You don’t have to rely on Facebook engineers, though, to keep your Newsfeed spam-free. Jones urged business owners not to focus solely on “likes” – “your business will see much greater value if you use Facebook to achieve specific business objectives, like driving in-store sales or boosting app downloads,” he wrote.
Still, the like button has some value, and is now available to all Android and iOS mobile developers. Add the feature to your iOS apps or Android games (pictured above) to let folks directly like the application’s Facebook page and share news about it on the social network.