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What to dis'Like' about Facebook

Posting in Technology

Facebook does a fine job of ruling over users' profiles and has deleted many an inappropriate post in the act. And now the social media site says they are cracking down on fake "likes," a seedy business that helps to make companies look better.

Facebook writes on its security blog: "We have recently increased our automated efforts to remove Likes on Pages that may have been gained by means that violate our Facebook Terms. 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."

The website's administrators will remove "likes" produced by malware, compromised accounts and those that have been purchased. Apparently there is an underground "like" community where you can buy some compliments.

Wired reports on the issue: "The implications are disturbing. Facebook’s advertising system is built on the idea that consumers will be willing to build closer relationships with advertisers, “liking” the advertiser’s pages, reading the advertiser’s status updates, and circulating content about the advertiser to friends. If an advertiser’s popularity is exaggerated by fake 'likes,' it makes the business less trustworthy and less likely to be engaged by real consumers."

The problem rings similar to the issues with fake Yelp reviews. And companies have been gaming those for years, even going so far as to pay hundreds of dollars for fake reviews.

So how does Facebook plan on cracking down on clicking that tiny icon? The company says they have "recently increased automated efforts to remove Likes on Pages that may have been gained by means that violate our Facebook Terms."

But it doesn't sound that easy. As Wired notes, "Fraudsters are clearly using Facebook, too, hence all the fake “likes.” And they’ll be racing to thwart Facebook’s filters. Summer ends this weekend with a victory for Facebook’s 'like' engineers. But the arms race has just begun."

via Wired

Photo via flickr/codemastersnake

— By on September 9, 2012, 4:16 AM PST

Amy Kraft

Weekend Editor

Contributing Editor Amy Kraft is a freelance writer based in New York. She has written for New Scientist and DNAinfo and has produced podcasts for Scientific American's 60-Second-Science. She holds degrees from CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure