Facebook page admins up and down the country have been spotted weeping in the kitchen on the 4pm tea run after they spent the day watching their Facebook fan counters plummet. One social media manager, who lost around 140 likes today said “I just don’t know what happened? Was it something I said?”
Thankfully, you can rest assured that it wasn’t something you said, it was something that Facebook did, and although you may be feeling a little shunned and dejected now, you’ll thank them for it in the long run. In their ongoing effort to fight spam, Facebook has started the long process of ridding the network of spam likes. Be they fake, forged, duplicate or just unwanted.
Dubbed by TechCrunch as “Operation Unlike“, it’s delivered a pretty hefty blow to many Facebook accounts with both large and small followings. Zynga’s Texas HoldEm Poker was one of the worse hit after losing nearly 100,000 likes. However, when we put this into perspective, it’s only around 0.15% of its 63 million fans. Small business owners may be the worst hit, and if you were wondering if your competitor was buying fake likes to inflate their follower count, then now would be the time to check.
Why is Facebook doing this?
First up, they don’t want fake accounts floating around, skewing their active user numbers. At a time when everything is seen as percentages and figures, and we all want to see things in infographic form, skewing the numbers with fakes, duplicates, and cat accounts can only do harm.
Although the claims from new start-up Limited Run that 80% of their advertising clicks came from bots were never proven to be true or false either way, it is a concern for advertisers if there is the possibility that they will end up paying for a spam click, or a fake like.
And finally, Likes have become a unit of currency on Facebook, and they’ve become a mark of influence and power. If the number was all that mattered, then page admins could simply buy likes, and the entire system of likes would be pointless. Also, the likes have to come from somewhere, if demand for fake likes rose, so would the demand for fake accounts.
How will this benefit me?
If you lost a few likes today, then you should now have a clearer idea of your actual demographic of followers, which will help in your future marketing efforts. Try to keep in mind that follower counts are meaningless if the people following you aren’t engaged. By getting rid of the fake and spam likes, Facebook is helping you to get closer to your real fan base.