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Facebook gets tough on fake 'likes'

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Facebook has announced a series of measures aimed at ensuring that 'likes' on the social network come from someone actually interested in the brand, product or person.

In July, the BBC ran an investigation suggesting that Facebook was being hit by fake profiles that were issuing thousands of meaningless 'likes' to products and pages.

Facebook initially said that fake accounts were not a major problem on the site, and most advertisers were not being beset with dubious 'likes' on their pages.

However, that stance has now changed and Facebook - which makes the majority of its revenue from advertising - has said it will get tough on rogue 'likers'.

> Facebook admits up to 83m profiles could be fake

In a blog post last Friday, Facebook said: "A 'like' that doesn't come from someone truly interested in connecting with a page benefits no-one."

The newly-listed company said that it wants to ensure that when someone 'likes' a page on Facebook, that "connection involves a real person interested in hearing from a specific page and engaging with that brand's content".

Facebook has recently increased its automated efforts to remove 'likes' on pages that "may have been gained by means that violate our Facebook Terms", said the blog post.

The company says that on average less than 1% of 'likes' would be removed from pages, providing that the affiliate has been abiding by the terms and conditions.

Technical teams at Facebook have expanded the systems for combatting security threats to the service to include measures specifically designed to "identify and take action against suspicious Likes".

This will include 'likes' gained by malware, compromised accounts, deceived users, or purchased bulk Likes.

"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," said Facebook.

"Beyond the need to maintain authentic relationships on Facebook, these third-party vendors often attempt to use malware or other forms of deception to generate fraudulent 'likes', which is harmful to all users and the internet as a whole.

"These improvements to our site integrity systems benefit both users and brands alike. Users will continue to connect to the pages and profiles they authentically want to subscribe to, and pages will have a more accurate measurement of fan count and demographics.

"This improvement will allow pages to produce ever more relevant and interesting content, and brands will see an increase in the true engagement around their content."

Facebook also advised companies to properly "vet" any businesses that offer marketing services that it is claimed will build their Facebook presences, in order to ensure they are using only legitimate practices, which do not violate the Facebook Terms.

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