"Facebook is a community where people use their real identities." It goes on to advise: "The name you use should be your real name as it would be listed on your credit card, student ID, etc." Fraudulent "likes" damage the trust of advertisers, who want clicks from real people they can sell to and whom Facebook now relies on to make money. Fakery also can ruin the credibility of search results for the social search engine that Facebook says it is building. |
Facebook says it has always taken the problem seriously, and recently stepped up efforts to cull fakes from the site. "It's pretty much one of the top priorities for the company all the time," said Joe Sullivan, who is in charge of security at Facebook.
The fakery problem on Facebook comes in many shapes. False profiles are fairly easy to create; hundreds can pop up simultaneously, sometimes with the help of robots, and often they persuade real users into friending them in a bid to spread malware. Fake Facebook friends and likes are sold on the Web like trinkets at a bazaar, directed at those who want to enhance their image. Fake coupons for meals and gadgets can appear on Facebook newsfeeds, aimed at tricking the unwitting into revealing their personal information.
Somewhat more benignly, some college students use fake names in an effort to protect their Facebook content from the eyes of future employers.
Mr. Sullivan declined to say what portion of the company's now one billion plus users were fake. The company quantified the problem last June, in responding to an inquiry by the Securities and Exchange Commission. At that time, the company said that of its 855 million active users, 8.7 percent, or 83 million, were duplicates, false or "undesirable," for instance, because they spread spam.
Mr. Sullivan said that since August, the company had put in place a new automated system to purge fake "likes." The company said it has 150 to 300 staff members to weed out fraud.
Flags are raised if a user sends out hundreds of friend requests at a time, Mr. Sullivan explained, or likes hundreds of pages simultaneously, or most obvious of all, posts a link to a site that is known to contain a virus. Those suspected of being fakes are warned. Depending on what they do on the site, accounts can be suspended.
In October, Facebook announced new partnerships with antivirus companies. Facebook users can now download free or paid antivirus coverage to guard against malware.
"It's something we have been pretty effective at all along," Mr. Sullivan said.
Facebook's new aggressiveness toward fake "likes" became noticeable in September, when brand pages started seeing their fan numbers dip noticeably. An average brand page, Facebook said at the time, would lose less than 1 percent of its fans.
meanwhile...back at the WSO ranch...you'll find products that make fake Facebook "Likes".
I don't agree with it. You?