We, like almost every other marketing expert out there, have said for a long time that fake likes on Facebook doesn’t do any good for your campaign, and that it can in fact harm it.
Facebook is taking the issue seriously and has started killing fake likes like it’s their passion. We’ve seen reports of Pages having these fake likes slashed in great numbers, and it’s nice to see that Facebook is taking action on something they believe is hurting their system (which they continually do with updates to their algorithms and rules).
What Defines “Fake Likes”
There are a ton of sites online that offer the opportunity to buy likes essentially in bulk. You pay $50 and you get 5,000 likes, for example. To find these sites, all you have to do is Google them, and a ton will pop up in your search results.
The problem with buying fake likes is that they’re just that—fake. Most of the profiles aren’t even real people; they are computer-generated, and the profiles will never have any purpose or interaction on Facebook except to look pretty and like a whole bunch of Pages.
Even on the 1% change that these likes are actually real people, the like you’ve bought from them is still an empty, fake like. Their accounts were likely hacked in order to get that like. Even if they weren’t these people likely aren’t at all interested in your, your business, or your content, and they’ll never interact or read your content. All they are is a number on your page, but it’s one that ultimately hurts you, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
What Motivated Facebook to Kill Fake Likes
Despite the warnings and cautions of how bad fake likes can actually be for your Page, it seems that a lot of businesses either weren’t listening or weren’t paying attention.
Back in October of last year, Facebook admitted that it had a pretty big fake likes problem. And by pretty big, we mean huge.
Facebook has been working hard to make sure that the only likes on a businesses’ Page—and on a user’s profile—are relevant ones. They want the user to like the Page only if the content actually interests them and is something they want to see frequently (or at least occasionally) in their Newsfeeds.
Facebook also uses user engagement as one of the main factors in determining the quality of a Page. If your user engagement is comparatively low but your likes are crazy high, you’re looking at a reduction in priority for appearing in the Newsfeed. This can keep great Pages from having their content shown, and Facebook doesn’t want that either.
Facebook is killing fake likes by flagging and deleting accounts that have gone on a spree of liking Page after Page without much other interaction and activity on their profiles.
Fake likes can be difficult to detect, as there are “fake like” companies that actually pay real works to create accounts and manually make the likes, which makes it more difficult for Facebook to detect them. Having the system flag accounts with mass amounts of likes over a short period of time is how they’ll catch them.
Why Facebook Killing Fake Likes is Good
Facebook killing the fake likes will be a good thing overall, including for those Pages who have purchased the fake likes.
The biggest problem for fake likes is that it has a horrible effect on your Page, particularly in your reach.
Facebook uses an algorithm called EdgeRank that helps them decide and prioritize what content users most want to see.
One of the most heavily weighed factors in EdgeRank is user engagement—the amount of user engagement on posts and content. If you have a ton of likes but little to no engagement, you’re ranking is going to drop. What this means is that even the users who do want to see your content are less likely to see it.
Let’s do the math. If you have 10,000 fake likes and 1,000 real ones, and your content is only being shown to 1,000 people, how much do you want to bet only a small portion of your real fans will see your content? Once your EdgeRank ranking drops, this number drops even more.
At the end of the day, having a ton of fake likes can end up dropping your rank, keeping the users who want to see and engage with your content from seeing it. Since one of the biggest advantages to having a Page is to show users free content in the form of posts, having a ton of free likes just to make your Page look popular was never worth the payoff.
It’s all about connecting most with the users that matter– Facebook targeting fake likes will help businesses do that.
The Potential Downside
This is good news overall and once everything settles down it will likely all be for the better (I would be astonished if it wasn’t), but I’ve already seen glimpses of a current problem with execution.
I’ve seen a few businesses and marketers that are claiming that due to their Pages genuine popularity, they garner a large to massive number of likes every week or month, and Facebook has slashed their numbers down to next to nothing compared to what it was.
Part of this may come as collateral damage. While these fake profiles are being fleshed out, they might have a mass spree of liking other Pages to make some of their paid likes to seem realistic. These Pages who never purchased likes—but ended up in the crosshairs—will see the effects of this issue.
If you see that this is happening to your Page and you haven’t purchased fake likes, the only thing to do as of now would be to contact Facebook directly and as why and try to get everything sorted out as soon as possible.
Overall, this is going to level the playing field, and hopefully too many Pages won’t get hit with the collateral damage of having real, actual likes be taken away or reduced mistakenly as a few marketers have claimed to have already experienced.
It will be good in the long run even the for the businesses who stubbornly insist on making their page seem “fuller” and more popular with a lot of likes, not realizing the detrimental effect buying likes actually has on Facebook.
To see more about how to be successful with Facebook Ads, make sure you take a look at our FB Ads Formula to increase ROIs.
What do you think of this news? Has your Page taken any accidental hits? Leave a comment and let us know!