Fake likes abound on Facebook, but the company is as mad as hell and isn’t going to take it any more.
A recent post on Facebook’s security blog states the social network has increased automated efforts to remove Likes on Pages “that may have been gained by means that violate our Facebook Terms”.
These violations include those Likes gained by malware, compromised accounts, deceived users, or purchased bulk Likes.
On the latter point:
“To be clear, we do not and have never permitted the purchase or sale of Facebook Likes as we only want people connecting to the Pages and brands with whom they have chosen to connect.”
It’s good to see Facebook increasing efforts in this aspect, but I guess like in any form of spamming, you only get to win battles, not wars – so they won’t be able to rest on their fake Like fighting laurels for too long.
I guess a slap on the wrist from Facebook for merchants who engage in this behavior isn’t going to mean much; but I’ve mentioned in the past there could be a nastier penalty for those who succumb to the temptation of buying Likes.
For example, in Australia companies can be prosecuted for using false testimonials, endorsements and reviews. In my mind, a Like is a type of endorsement. I haven’t heard of this being tested in the courts as yet; but it’s a brave (or stupid) merchant who decides to go ahead knowing of this potential for landing in legal hot water – those cheap likes may not be so cheap after all. The same could also apply in other countries.
Some fake Like services also offer options for leaving glowing comments about a company or product. This is definitely illegal in Australia for the reasons mentioned above.
Another thing to bear in mind is that by buying Facebook likes (or followers on Twitter or Google +1′s), potential customers with a bit of savvy can easily discern this is what a merchant has done – so it doesn’t do much for establishing trust or credibility.