Facebook warns against buying fake likes, but the fans-for-sale industry is booming

Facebook warns against buying fake Likes

Facebook warns against buying fake LikesFacebook is taking another swipe at fraudulent likes that artificially inflate a Facebook Page’s number of fans.

In a note published last Friday on the Facebook Security Page, the social media giant advises Page administrators that it is working “aggressively to get rid of fake likes.”

In its ongoing battle against phony-like peddlers, scammers and spammers, Facebook has tried many approaches.

It has won $2 billion in legal judgments against spammers, and uses algorithms and machine learning to detect phony accounts and spammy Likejacking tricks.

Facebook also tracks Page engagement and caps the number of likes a Page can receive if it detects fraudulent activity, effectively penalizing Pages that purchase fake likes by limiting their ability to attract more genuine followers.

And yet scam businesses offering to sell likes to Page owners that will supposedly increase customer engagement continue to reap millions – by one estimate, this shady industry is worth $200 million per year.

Now, in conjunction with National Cyber Security Awareness Month, Facebook is trying persuasion under the banner of ‘awareness’, but with a threat in tow.

Buying fake likes will only hurt you, Facebook says:

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. 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.

Like me do

Despite the warnings, lawsuits, and Facebook’s best efforts to catch fraudulent likes, a cottage industry has sprung up in recent years offering likes for sale.

One such business, called Marketing Heaven, says it guarantees “real” Facebook likes from “pre-screened” and “flesh and blood” fans.

Marketing Heaven’s website says it doesn’t use fake accounts, while warning that many other services offering likes for sale are nothing but posers, charlatans and scam artists.

The company also says in an FAQ that its services are “perfectly legit” and compliant with Facebook’s terms of service.

Well, that’s simply not true, according to Facebook’s help page titled “Can I buy likes for my Facebook page?

Facebook’s advice for increasing engagement with Pages is to generate likes from “real people” who are interested in a Page’s content, which requires audience targeting.

And what’s the best way to reach your target audience?

Buying ads from Facebook, of course.

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Image of Get More Likes sign courtesy of Shutterstock.