Saturday, 4 October 2014

Facebook hitting back against fake "likes" scams

Facebook announced on Friday that it is stepping up efforts to crack down on the misleading scam governing the "likes" feature on the social network. Facebook's site integrity engineer Matt Jones addressed the issue of fake likes, garnered by spammers and sold in order to make pages appear more popular than they organically are, in a blog post.
The website claims to have obtained judgments worth nearly $2 billion against acts of fraudulence on its network and that it will be pursuing these.
The sale and purchase of likes is a common scam on Facebook and private users, or even corporations have been seen to buy likes -often advertised in increments of 10,000 at a time- to promote their own pages. These are misleading to users as they give a false sense of popularity to anybody who isn't in the know and affect trends.
Jones wrote that Facebook uses  "machine learning to catch suspicious behavior that sticks out". Once the activity is spotted by Facebook it prevents the account holder or page from spreading it further by blocking or suspending accounts. The fake likes are also at times removed from the fraudulent page.
The blog post added that Facebook also partners with other networks where such activity is observed and lends its expertise and insight at uncovering these incidents to academic communities in particular.
Apart from website level cleansing of accounts and pages associated with fake likes and related scamming, Facebook also undertakes legal measures against spammers to remind them that Facebook "will fight back to prevent abuse" on its platform.
Other tools in the company's arsenal include advanced algorithms that keep a look out for spikes in the "like" activity and also an overall limitation to the number of likes per account to curb instances of wanton abuse.
"We have a strong incentive to aggressively go after the bad actors behind fake likes because businesses and people who use our platform want real connections and results, not fakes,"  Jones added.