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Fake Profiles Devaluing Facebook Likes

Gathering thousands upon thousands of Likes for your Facebook page might look impressive, but this could ultimately prove detrimental to your brand, unless you look into the value of the profiles who have liked your page.

An investigation launched by the BBC has found that many companies may be wasting large proportions of their marketing budget on trying to gather likes for their Facebook page, from users who have no real interest in their products or services.

To investigate, the BBC set up a Facebook page for a fictitious foodstuffs brand called VirtualBagel. The page rapidly gained plenty of likes, but it was found that many of these likes came from fake automated profiles, set up specifically to generate and spread spam across the site.

Nearly all of the likes for the VirtualBagel page came from profiles from teenage users in Egypt and the Philippines, many of whom were mass-liking up to 5000 pages.

Facebook, however, claims to have "not seen evidence of a significant problem". A spokesman for the social network said: "A very small percentage of users do open accounts using pseudonyms but this is against our rules and we use automated systems as well as user reports to help us detect them."

There is obviously significant gains to be made from promoting your brand on Facebook, including brand awareness and increased customer engagement. But as this investigation shows, sometimes it proves that quantity is not as important as quality when it comes to social media.


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