The social media giant Facebook is taking steps to delete false “likes” that are posted to company Facebook pages, often by users who don’t exist or don’t have knowledge of the particular business, in an effort to fix an issue that could devalue a major part of Facebook’s advertising model. In a blog post on Friday, Aug. 31, the company said it does not and has never permitted the purchase or sale of Facebook Likes, as they only want people connecting to the pages and brands with whom they have chosen to connect.
They newly improved automated efforts are designed to remove those likes gained by malware, compromised accounts, deceived users, or purchased bulk likes. The improved systems have been specifically configured to identify and take action against suspicious likes, the company explained, noting they have always had dedicated protections against each of these threats on Facebook.
“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,” the blog post states. “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.”
In a filing earlier this year with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the social networking giant Facebook admitted that 8.7 percent of its 955 million members worldwide could in fact be in violation of its policies, with duplicate accounts, accounts that users maintain in addition to their principal accounts, make up 4.8 percent of that figure. In addition, the filing reveals user-misclassified accounts may have represented approximately 2.4 percent of Facebook’s worldwide users, and undesirable accounts may have represented approximately 1.5 percent of their worldwide users.
Privacy issues and the problem of widespread fake accounts have recently plagued the social media behemoth. In August, Facebook and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reached a resolution following charges that the company deceived its consumers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, while repeatedly allowing it to be publicly shared. The agreement requires Facebook to give its users “clear and prominent notice” and obtain their express consent before sharing personal information beyond the user’s agreed-to privacy settings.
Based on the terms of the settlement, Facebook must also conduct privacy audits from an independent third party every two years and maintain a comprehensive privacy program to protect user information. The commission noted Facebook will be subject to civil penalties of up to $16,000 for each violation of the order and that the company is subject to monitoring to ensure compliance with the order.