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Facebook "Like" System Devalued By Fake Users

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the yeah-but-have-you-see-what-real-ones-like? dept.

Businesses 99

New submitter k(wi)r(kipedia) writes "A BBC investigation has found evidence of fake users skewing the results of Facebook's 'Like' recommendation system. The BBC set up a Facebook page for a fake business called VirtualBagel and invited users to 'like' it. The page reportedly attracted 'over 1,600 likes' within twenty-four hours. The test appeared to confirm the claims of a social media marketing consultant who contacted the BBC after he noticed a disparity in the distribution of users 'liking' the products of his clients. 'While they had been targeting Facebook users around the world, all their "likes" appeared to be coming from countries such as the Philippines and Egypt.'"

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99 comments

I like this! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40647361)

Oh, and hi from the Philippines! :) We have a very liking culture over here.

Re:I like this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40647493)

Don't lie, you only like me when I pay.

Not just the Philippines (2)

arisvega (1414195) | about 2 years ago | (#40648649)

The "civilized west" does this as well: this link [tech.in.gr] (which I do not want you to click on, and I am only including it for reference) is from a copycat greek news site, with a 'catchy' domain name, where they inform you that if you 'like' their facebook profile you are "eligible to win the top Samsung smartphone priced at approximately [sic.] 670 euros". Their pages are full of sneakware/trackware as well.

In essence people Egypt like stuff they know (1, Redundant)

dredwerker (757816) | about 2 years ago | (#40647363)

nothing about.

I actually read the article and still dont really know what this is about.

Why would people just go around liking stuff.

Re:In essence people Egypt like stuff they know (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 2 years ago | (#40647367)

Its about spam.

Re:In essence people Egypt like stuff they know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40647375)

Plese elaborate - why? Who's spamming whom again?

Re:In essence people Egypt like stuff they know (4, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 2 years ago | (#40647385)

People in Egypt and the Philippines are being paid to click on links. By doing that the client "VirtualBagel" pays more for their advertising service (a facebook page).

Re:In essence people Egypt like stuff they know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40649045)

Noo, that's just mean! I mean the peoples of Egypt and Philippines are just naturally very positive and liking, revolution, social inequality and all.

Re:In essence people Egypt like stuff they know (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#40647431)

I"m not sure but they seem to be saying Facebook is behind it.

Re:In essence people Egypt like stuff they know (1)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about 2 years ago | (#40647913)

The impression I had from TFA was that Facebook weren't behind it as such, but didn't really care. Their opinion was that it was a drop in the ocean, and that's what you'd expect them to say when fake "likes" boost their advertising revenue.

Re:In essence people Egypt like stuff they know (2)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 2 years ago | (#40647495)

Plese elaborate - why? Who's spamming whom again?

Everybody and everybody, especially here.

Reddit, Slashdot, and Digg are three of several resources for user-submitted news. Take a browse through a few and get familiar with the platform. In our next blog post, we’ll discuss using these free tools for spreading brand awareness and promoting dialogue about your business.

There are marketing opportunities to harness in social news websites.

http://www.kelownawebdesigns.com/social-media/reddit-slashdot-digg-social-news-websites/ [kelownawebdesigns.com]

http://www.evancarmichael.com/SEO/1455/Social-Media-The-Instant-Brand-Killer.html [evancarmichael.com]

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/social-media-marketing-allinone-for-dummies-cheat-.html [dummies.com]

Re:In essence people Egypt like stuff they know (4, Informative)

caution live frogs (1196367) | about 2 years ago | (#40653499)

Fake FB accounts are set up and send friend requests to random users. Some FB users will accept any friend request they get. I know a few who do this. If a friend likes something, it shows up in your news feed (which is dumb, why do I care that you like a company?). If you click the link and then like it yourself, the company just gained access to your feed too. And your demographic info. Mission accomplished.

I see this all the time - so-and-so likes Target or Walmart or whatever. It makes me feel kinda bad for those people, because they don't realize how much personal info they give up when they click that little button. It's the same reason I never use FB to log in anywhere - if a site requires FB login only, I don't use it.

Re:In essence people Egypt like stuff they know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40655291)

I find it difficult to believe fake Facebook accounts exist: that violates the Terms of Service or End-User Agreement.

Re:In essence people Egypt like stuff they know (4, Interesting)

Quick Reply (688867) | about 2 years ago | (#40647387)

Probably bots trying to establish a presence and thereby appearing to be a legitimate account when the try to friend people who might accept them even if they don't know them. Once in a friends list they can use it for viral marketing and/or theft of personal data.

Re:In essence people Egypt like stuff they know (1)

sentientbeing (688713) | about 2 years ago | (#40647473)

Indeed. These will be all the Egyptian Facebook bots set up during the Arab spring by the CIA as fake grassroots and are currently sitting around bored since theyve been laid off

Bots need to feel wanted too.

The scam is simple (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40647389)

Facebook lets them send messages to others telling them they 'like' something. So they 'like' it, then get to send the spam message advertising their viagra/rolex/whatever they're trying to sell.

Simple really. If 98% of email is spam, them likely 98% of likes are spam too.

"Earlier this year Facebook revealed that about 5-6% of its 901 million users might be fake - representing up to 54 million profiles."

If 5% of their users are fakes, that's 45 million, if each likes 5000, thats 200 billion fake likes. The bigger question is why do advertisers imagine that Facebook pages are somehow more traffic'd than Internet pages, when every facebook user is an internet user, but not every internet user is a facebook user.

It's like putting adverts in second life, remember that?

Re:The scam is simple (3, Informative)

dredwerker (757816) | about 2 years ago | (#40647433)

Facebook lets them send messages to others telling them they 'like' something. So they 'like' it, then get to send the spam message advertising their viagra/rolex/whatever they're trying to sell.

Simple really. If 98% of email is spam, them likely 98% of likes are spam too.

"Earlier this year Facebook revealed that about 5-6% of its 901 million users might be fake - representing up to 54 million profiles."

If 5% of their users are fakes, that's 45 million, if each likes 5000, thats 200 billion fake likes. The bigger question is why do advertisers imagine that Facebook pages are somehow more traffic'd than Internet pages, when every facebook user is an internet user, but not every internet user is a facebook user.

It's like putting adverts in second life, remember that?

Thanks for the explanation because that was definitely not in the BBC article.

I misread the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40647509)

Well I'm not a FB user, and got that from the article, but re-reading it, I misread the article:

"Once a user has clicked on a link the company it belongs to can then post content on their news feed, send them messages and alert their friends to the connection. Facebook makes money by charging companies a fee to show adverts designed to attract new "likes"."

I thought I read that the spammer can send a message, however it is the advertiser. But then that suggests fraud from Facebook doesn't it?? The only company gaining there would be Facebook, the cheap labour is just the usual 'clicks for hire' I see adverts for these all the time here.

Re:The scam is simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40647903)

Seconded on the thanks, I do not use Facebook, so it's peculiarities are a mystery unto me...

Thanks for the explanation because that was definitely not in the BBC article.

Yes, welcome to the BBC. Our Mission 'To enrich people's lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain.'

Pity, they've forgotten the 'inform' and 'educate' parts...and as for 'enrich', oh yes, I'm so fucking 'enriched' by Eastenders..

I'm sorry to say that I fund the abomination that is the BBC through my (compulsory) license fee, it always amuses me when I hear foreigners go on about how good the BBC news service is, and how unbiased it is etc. bloody etc.

Re:The scam is simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40647993)

it always amuses me when I hear foreigners go on about how good the BBC news service is, and how unbiased it is etc. bloody etc.

Visit America sometime. You'll agree with those foreigners by the time you get back home.

Re:The scam is simple (2)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 2 years ago | (#40648939)

Pity, they've forgotten the 'inform' and 'educate' parts...and as for 'enrich', oh yes, I'm so fucking 'enriched' by Eastenders..

Yes, it's a shame that the BBC's only program is Eastenders.

I'm sorry to say that I fund the abomination that is the BBC through my (compulsory) license fee...

It's not compulsory and it doesn't just fund the BBC. I stopped paying it years ago* and I'm quite happy using on-demand services, which don't require one to pay the licence fee.

...it always amuses me when I hear foreigners go on about how good the BBC news service is, and how unbiased it is etc. bloody etc.

Try listening to the World Service, or even the domestic news, and then tell us all about the bias in the BBC because aside from pandering to the Royal Family and near-continuous promotion of the Olympics I've never noticed any. Alternatively you could take some small measure of pride in the fact that your country is home to one of the most respected broadcasters in the world.

*Not because of the quality of the programming; I stopped paying it because I could get all I wanted from iPlayer (despite the admittedly poor selection).

Re:The scam is simple (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#40649961)

The BBC does have a bit of a political correctness bias. You'll not often catch them saying anything that could be even remotely seen as anti-any-minority. For example, I was recently watching 'How to get a a life' episode on discrimination, and one case study was a Sikh who was unable to spectate at a cricket game because the venue had a strict policy forbidding the carrying of weapons, and as a strict Sikh he felt obliged by his religion to carry around a rather large knife. At no point in the program was it suggested that the venue might have had good reason to forbid people carrying knives at a sporting event, or was the debate raised about the right of religious freedom vs the wider public interest. It was just portrayed as a case of those ignorant british trampling upon the cultural rights of another oppress minority.

That aside though, their bias is *nothing* compared to any of the more commercial producers. The bias of the BBC pales into nothing beside them. And they do produce some excellent documentory programs, which again look even better when compared to the more commercial offerings which seem always to be dumbed-down to widen their appeal.

Re:The scam is simple (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 2 years ago | (#40650261)

While I agree that there is a strong desire not to offend any minorities, I wouldn't class that as bias since it's applied equally to all minorities. I'd also take the story about the Sikh with a pinch of salt, especially if it was from the UK. To my knowledge the kirpan (sp?) carried by Sikhs is actually quite small and sometimes permanently sealed within the scabbard. It's also the case that the kirpan is exempt from the Criminal Justice Act, since it's used for religious purposes. Without seeing the programme in question it's hard to say who was in the right, but if the club barred someone because they were carrying something permitted by law I might be inclined to agree that the Sikh's rights were not being respected. Personally, I find the idea of their carrying a weapon with the express purpose of opposing injustice to be quite laudable, if a little anachronistic.

Re:The scam is simple (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#40651243)

The kirpan actually varies depending on the sect. Some of them regard it as symbolic and require only a knife-shaped pendant or a knife riveted into the sheath to render it harmless, while others are strictly traditional and believe that only a full-sized knife will do. This particular one was from one of the latter groups, probably because they are the ones more likely to run into trouble. You are also correct about the Criminal Justice Act in regard to carrying in public, but I don't know the legal situation regarding the permitting of kirpan in privately-owned venues.

I think they should drop the knife as a symbol, and replace it with a pen. A quill pen, because it has to be traditional. A more modern symbol, and arguably a more powerful tool in the fight against injustice.

Re:The scam is simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40654491)

Better not watch live streams on iPlayer then, you need a TV license for that.

Re:The scam is simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40659503)

Compared to American media it is, and Americans tend to be skeptical or suspicious of Al Jazeera English.

Re:The scam is simple (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#40647445)

Facebook lets them send messages to others telling them they 'like' something.

How? I only see messages from people who are in my friend list.

I'm not sure what they're implying here but if Facebook charges VirtualBagel by the number of "likes" then the only person who can profit from this is Facebook.

Re:The scam is simple (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40647447)

Umm... Jews rigging the system again?

I don't get it (2)

whythefucknot (2668899) | about 2 years ago | (#40648483)

I don't personally use FB, but my wife has a business with a heavily liked Facebook page. She has made the same observation about many of the likes coming from Egypt, Philippines, etc.

From what she's told me, when you "Like" something you can tell your friends, but you have to be friends with them anyway in which case you can already send them messages. Similarly, you can post on the company's page, but you can already do that without "Liking" it (and her page doesn't get very much spam - maybe one message every 2 days or so). So it doesn't sound as though liking things gives you any ability to send messages to people that you can't already send messages to. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

I'm very curious to know what motivation there could be for people to create fake accounts and "Like" things with them. It's ridiculous that the BBC article makes no attempt to even speculate on the obvious question.

Re:I don't get it (1)

drawfour (791912) | about 2 years ago | (#40650575)

I don't think that users get to directly communicate with other users who "liked" something, but they do still have a way to communicate their spam. If you like "The Big Bang Theory", and then whoever owns "The Big Bang Theory" account makes a post, everyone who "liked" it sees it in their news feed and can comment on it. So the spammers just wait for companies to post something, and then they can spam the conversation. That's the best I can see it would do for them.

Re:The scam is simple (2)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about 2 years ago | (#40648641)

The bigger question is why do advertisers imagine that Facebook pages are somehow more traffic'd than Internet pages, when every facebook user is an internet user, but not every internet user is a facebook user.

They don't. They imagine Facebook users will be easier to track, market to, and (most importantly) market through. Every Facebook user is a potential advertising channel.

Re:The scam is simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40653451)

I still don't get it. Is the claim that someone in Egypt has employed people to like random pages? How can they money from liking random pages?

Is the claim that Facebook pays the Egyptians to create false likes?

Re:In essence people Egypt like stuff they know (1)

dredwerker (757816) | about 2 years ago | (#40647427)

nothing about.

I actually read the article and still dont really know what this is about.

Why would people just go around liking stuff.

Why the hell have I been modded down? Its obviously a valid point as people have replied.

Re:In essence people Egypt like stuff they know (0)

Quick Reply (688867) | about 2 years ago | (#40647441)

Why the hell have I been modded down? Its obviously a valid point as people have replied.

Having some replies does not represent the quality of your post, and there is not much to reply to when you make the first post either.

Re:In essence people Egypt like stuff they know (1)

dredwerker (757816) | about 2 years ago | (#40648147)

Why the hell have I been modded down? Its obviously a valid point as people have replied.

Having some replies does not represent the quality of your post, and there is not much to reply to when you make the first post either.

I posted something to do with the article and a question and I was modded down. I just don't get why. I mod all the time. It wasn't frivolous and it was on topic beats a lot of slashdot posts :)

Re:In essence people Egypt like stuff they know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40647443)

You're not supposed to read the article. Yes, it's a trap.

Re:In essence people Egypt like stuff they know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40647429)

You can't create a fake user and just start liking all the stuff you get paid to like. You have to digg/like other stuff too. In other news, Digg was sold for how much?

Re:In essence people Egypt like stuff they know (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 2 years ago | (#40648547)

People are annoyed by the Like buttons and write generators to like any Like button they can find.

That's like saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40647369)

... "the number one is somehow less because of the number zero."

Re:That's like saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40647403)

"That's like saying the number one is somehow less because of the number zero."

Exactly! Wait... what?

Scary thought (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40647425)

So if I understand this correctly, they're saying that some of the people on Facebook are real?

Re:Scary thought (5, Funny)

siddesu (698447) | about 2 years ago | (#40647507)

No, they only say it is possible.

I am officially "old" (1)

Brain-Fu (1274756) | about 2 years ago | (#40649335)

You become old when new technologies stop making sense to you, and seem silly, unnatural, evil, or just plain valueless.

This exactly describes my opinion of Facebook, despite the fact that it is wildly successful.

Ugh. I am depressed now.

Re:I am officially "old" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40649783)

I agree. Although I would be a lot less depressed if they would just get off my lawn.

Re:I am officially "old" (1)

siddesu (698447) | about 2 years ago | (#40651145)

FB isn't a "new technology", it is just another match-making site. Don't kill yourself just yet.

What to gain? (4, Interesting)

Lord Lode (1290856) | about 2 years ago | (#40647435)

What do fake users gain by Like-ing a fake business page?

Isn't it more effective for fake users to like something that at least gives them some money in some way? I mean, spam lives from money, right?

Re:What to gain? (4, Interesting)

Zaiff Urgulbunger (591514) | about 2 years ago | (#40647707)

What do fake users gain by Like-ing a fake business page?

As I understand it, once they've "liked" the page, they can then post spam messages on that page.

The irony of course being that this effort is presumably worth-while to the spammers, and thus seems to confirm the argument that some advertising companies are making, that they get better results by just focusing on their own FB page and building a community and not bothering with FB advertising.

Re:What to gain? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#40649971)

It helps to fool Facebook's anti-fraud mechanisms. If a page has thousands of likes, all from accounts that like nothing else, it will look very suspicious. By having their bots like random pages all over facebook, the operators make those accounts look more like legitimate users with diverse interests.

Re:What to gain? (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 2 years ago | (#40650637)

What do fake users gain by Like-ing a fake business page?

If by "fake user", you mean "the person behind the fake account", then there could be any number of reasons. First, they might not know the business is fake. In that case, they could just be liking *everything*, hoping that something good will come of that. There's no penalty for liking something other than your time, which is meaningless if they're doing this with bots and some kind of intelligent filter. The upside is that they might get free offers or some other benefit.

This is the essence of speculation.

If they know the business is fake, it's still speculation. Perhaps they are hoping to gain access to a criminal syndicate, or insight into other scams on FB. Maybe they are even researchers!

An alternative interpretation of your question is that you really do mean "fake user" in the sense of the account itself, not the person behind it. AFAIK, user accounts don't just start randomly liking things; but if they did then perhaps there might be a reason for that. Maybe FB will gain self awareness. Time to loot the vending machines [slashdot.org] again.

Re:What to gain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40666269)

There are websites that have a like-for-like trading system. As in, you like someone else's page and you can earn points that you can offer to others to do the same for a page you'd like to promote. No combine that with bots, and you see how it works.

Here's an example site: http://www.youlikehits.com/

And yet, nothing of value was lost. (2)

EnsilZah (575600) | about 2 years ago | (#40647481)

For it to have been devalued you'd have to assume it had any value in the first place.

Re:And yet, nothing of value was lost. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#40647629)

For it to have been devalued you'd have to assume it had any value in the first place.

No, it can have negative value.

Misleading headline (4, Interesting)

Nursie (632944) | about 2 years ago | (#40647503)

It implies there was value in it in the first place.

Oh, you mean value for advertisers to report to their bosses how well they were doing because so many people 'like' their stuff. Seriously? That's the best metric you assholes have at the moment?

What's not clear from the article is what was in it for the fake or foreign accounts that 'like' things regardless - is this facebook pretending that advertising there works or is this third party likers with am unknown agenda?

Re:Misleading headline (1)

aurispector (530273) | about 2 years ago | (#40647731)

The point is, facebook "likes" are as meaningless as your relationships with most of the people on your "friends" list.

Re:Misleading headline (1)

Nursie (632944) | about 2 years ago | (#40648391)

Strange, I actually socialise with all the people on my friends list, but then it's about 35 people long and consists only of actual friends.

You must be thinking of someone else with your snarky comment.

friend of mine's brother does this (4, Interesting)

davydagger (2566757) | about 2 years ago | (#40647523)

A friend of mine's brother is in a start up company that does this for money. They call it advertising and they swear its just as legitimate as other types of ads. Not just facebook likes, but trying to farm various sorts of social media in attempt to "make things go viral". He told me he thinks that 60% of all trends are made up this way by some company like his. Oh, there are lots of companies that do this.

Re:friend of mine's brother does this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40647705)

Easy to believe. There's just too much dumb stuff that's going "viral" without being funny or novel. Don't believe the hype.

Re:friend of mine's brother does this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40648025)

They call it advertising and they swear its just as legitimate as other types of ads.

They're correct. Not because other types of ads are so legitimate. Because all of them are so manipulative and stupid at their core.

Ads are for the sheep who are swayed by them. Ads are push content. The not-sheep do research, pull-style, after deciding they need or want something. Unsolicited means unwanted.

Re:friend of mine's brother does this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40649225)

You mean... companies like Reddit?

Re:friend of mine's brother does this (1)

lennier (44736) | about 2 years ago | (#40652645)

He told me he thinks that 60% of all trends are made up this way by some company like his.

Is his boss named Hubertus Bigend by any chance?

Like devalues itself (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40647581)

"Like" has zero value in the absence of "Dislike".

Re:Like devalues itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40652965)

How will farmed dislike look like?

Re:Like devalues itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40661421)

"Like" has zero value in the absence of "Dislike".

how about "loathe" instead of "dislike"

Re:Like devalues itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40670447)

Anonymous Coward likes this.

So, how many fake FB accounts do you have? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40647691)

Let's start a random poll.

I have about 15. Only 3 are active outside of my real life account (two different FB games I play as time wasters). The others are alts I used for helping myself when playing games. Thank goodness there are people out there who've created scripts to automate the boring functions of the game.

If you told me I'd get free poker chips or a good weapon or maybe an upgrade for my ovens in Cafe World (yes I'm joking), I'd go like whatever page you wanted me to from as many accounts as need the help. If a bonus item is giftable, that means I'm clicking like 15 times and sending it across to the main account that plays that game.

My more successful alts (of the active ones) are women, they get more random friend requests (so random game items, free clicks when I want help in a game). Games on facebook want you to spam your "friends", so I created fake accounts and use those to spam the randoms who add my account because it has a sexy profile pic instead of hassling my real life account like they want me to.

I'd suggest a large number of people playing Zynga's Mafia Wars are fakes, energy accounts gathering loot to gift across to the main account. Their recent attempts at limiting automation/autoplayers are the reason why game numbers are way down. (They're also making stupid changes in the game and getting rid of real life people, which isn't helping).

I once posted "will cyber for loot" on my status and got a LOT of free stuff sent to me in Mafia Wars. That account has a profile pic that looks a lot like Amber Herd. (I figure I'm an honorary lesbian by borrowing a female persona, so why not.) I didn't follow through on the offer, I didn't need to - no-one even asked, they just sent me a whole bunch of stuff.

The attractive women profiles are handy if I want to find out about someone on facebook, say a real life person and I want to view more detail on their FB account. My real life account is totally disconnected from the fake accounts so I can safely send a friend request to every male in the target person's friends list and at least one will accept every time. This means I end up as a "friend of a friend" any many default security options in facebook allow friends of friends to see stuff that general users can't. Facebook are tightening up a little these days so that is less effective, or at least it was until timeline came in. If you don't manually go and modify your post history, some things are open to anyone.

Lastly - I was playing Zynga poker with one of my alts, got bored and flicked over to my real life FB account (which is game spam free, and recruiter friendly), then saw this posted on the slashdot facebook page in my newsfeed. I think that's irony but Alanis Morissette has me eternally confused about that.

Re:So, how many fake FB accounts do you have? (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 2 years ago | (#40648223)

15 Facebook accounts and going through all that trouble just to play Facebook games or spy on others? I'm really tempted to offer you the "go get laid" - advice.

Re:So, how many fake FB accounts do you have? (1)

cffrost (885375) | about 2 years ago | (#40654755)

15 Facebook accounts and going through all that trouble just to play Facebook games or spy on others? I'm really tempted to offer you the "go get laid" - advice.

Many people have difficulty connecting and socializing across an air gap.

Re:So, how many fake FB accounts do you have? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40648403)

I've easily setup a couple hundred sock puppet accounts. I use iMacros to login/out and perform tasks like clicking like or posting comments. It's useful for getting pages and conversations started and making them appear moderately popular. I do this with a half a dozen other people with a similar number of fake accounts. Total we have more than a 1000 fake accounts between us. I would assume the real number of fake accounts is 40-50%, if not higher.

Re:So, how many fake FB accounts do you have? (2)

pitchpipe (708843) | about 2 years ago | (#40649833)

Total we have more than a 1000 fake accounts between us.

And this my friends, is just one of the reasons why you'd have to be a total fucking nutjob to own FB. How do you know what the real numbers are?

Re:So, how many fake FB accounts do you have? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40650289)

I've easily setup a couple hundred sock puppet accounts. I use iMacros to login/out and perform tasks like clicking like or posting comments. It's useful for getting pages and conversations started and making them appear moderately popular. I do this with a half a dozen other people with a similar number of fake accounts. Total we have more than a 1000 fake accounts between us. I would assume the real number of fake accounts is 40-50%, if not higher.

I wonder how many people own multiple slashdot accounts?
http://cryptome.org/2012/07/gent-forum-spies.htm

Re:So, how many fake FB accounts do you have? (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | about 2 years ago | (#40649859)

Thanks for giving an extended explanation and good concrete examples.

But I would say it's a lot simpler to explain.

Once "Likes" can be traded for something of value, people will begin cheating to that thing of value.

It happens with everything. Pay-per-click spawned meaningless fraudulent clicks, so you can be sure pay-per-like will do the same.

It's just not a lot more complex than that.

Re:So, how many fake FB accounts do you have? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#40649995)

The silly thing to me is that among those who do 'cyber', the term is actually considered very vulgar. Or at least, among my crowd. I've never tried it with an outsider. Maybe the language is different in other channels.

Re:So, how many fake FB accounts do you have? (1)

tbird81 (946205) | about 2 years ago | (#40651193)

My girlfriend had about 6 fake accounts just to play Pet Society - you got rewarded for every friend you visited. Fortunately she stopped playing this after everything needed to be purchased with real money, and many of those fake accounts were spotted (she didn't do anything to disguise them as real, even the names were ridiculous).

Re:So, how many fake FB accounts do you have? (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | about 2 years ago | (#40651793)

Only about 10 here. More as time goes on.
Every group I join has a different account. Each of my groups of friends has a different account. And a few accounts for free stuff in non-facebook games (eg League of Legends Tristana.)

Re:So, how many fake FB accounts do you have? (1)

Mana Mana (16072) | about 2 years ago | (#40660275)

> I think that's irony but Alanis Morissette has me eternally
> confused about that.

Ironical---there's a word for that.

way bigger problem (4, Insightful)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#40647809)

1,600 likes from fake people pales in comparison to 500,000 fake likes from real people for a drawing or giveaway. EVERYONE is now doing a like us on facebook, win a ______ giveaway deal. I bet Newegg and Tiger Direct got over a million likes during their repeated like-based giveaways. Yeah, I actually like Newegg but I don't much care for Tiger Direct quite the same. But for a free chance at a gaming computer, I'd like the hell out of them. That's a problem because any idiot can spot a fake profile easily but fake likes from real people devalue the whole system much worse.

Re:way bigger problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40648087)

fake likes from real people devalue the whole system

Did the system ever have any value to begin with?

Seriously, there are people who actually care how many "likes" something gets? Or pay the slightest attention to it? Isn't that rather like thinking with someone else's brain rather than your own?

Re:way bigger problem (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | about 2 years ago | (#40648469)

Isn't that rather like thinking with someone else's brain rather than your own?

*waits for someone to verbally masturbate over the wisdom of crowds and whatnot*

I think what seems silly to you (and me), seems awesome for people who just don't like to think or make choices. And I fear rather than to appease the higher-maintenance ones, the idea is to marginalize them.

In the end, (a big chunk of) market research is just about finding out what people are thinking, so you can find ways to make them think what you'd like them to think instead (ie. against their own interests, for your profit). If you can skip directly to telling them what to think because everybody is thinking it, that's, well, ace.

So yeah, it's thinking with someone else's brain, and that's exactly why it's being pushed. In case you haven't noticed, brainwashing and and robotics will pretty much be the womb in which the eternally infantile human of the future will be trapped; now take some Soma, enjoy the ride, and don't make a fuss.

Re:way bigger problem (1)

game kid (805301) | about 2 years ago | (#40648617)

Yeah, if people havent realized groups are not seeking and getting what I call "favor likes", then they are clearly in the Mike Gravel Housing Program ("Hiding under a rock!"). Any ranking of pages by likes is inherently skewed, if not completely worthless and useless but to the marketers behind each page.

I also consider asking people to Like a page via a TV commercial one of the least classy things a (big, in particular) company can possibly do. You managed to land a goddamn TV commercial; by doing that you tell us you still need synthetic word-of-mouth with a side of tracking internet users. Ick.

Fiverr ruined my Facebook like value already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40647911)

For $5, you can have 50,000 people like your page in 48 hours.

http://fiverr.com/gigs/search?query=facebook+like

Turnabout is fair play (2)

Rambo Tribble (1273454) | about 2 years ago | (#40648043)

Facebook being devalued by users, even fake ones, is a refreshing change from Facebook characteristically devaluing users.

Not only for fake businesses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40648157)

There is apparently a business for selling Likes. NPR ran a story few weeks ago - http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/05/16/152736671/this-guy-will-sell-you-sell-you-1-000-facebook-likes

Re:Not only for fake businesses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40666283)

There's a few sites that operate on auction-based points systems, i.e. you like things to earn points that you can offer to others to like your own pages.

As a sidenote... (2)

jones_supa (887896) | about 2 years ago | (#40648439)

I've always been a bit uncomfortable to "Like" a company in Facebook. Paying for the particular company's products should be enough liking for them, no more cocksucking needed.

Facebook is over (1)

Ryanrule (1657199) | about 2 years ago | (#40648997)

It was over a few years ago. Companies like this just take forever to die. Look at aol. Im sure some grandma in 10 years will still be on facebook, giving the companies corpse a few more bills to buy some crack.

Re:Facebook is over (1)

ethanms (319039) | about 2 years ago | (#40655365)

Facebook will be "over" when a replacement has started to seriously pull away it's users. At the moment this is not happening.

I know there is always a desire to be counter-culture, but the reality is that Facebook is a popular site used by millions (billions?). Many of these people are using it like a virtual public park--you show up, you meet friends, you spread information, tell jokes, share pictures and stories--This is not a new concept of course, it just happens to be that Facebook is doing "best" at the moment.

I suppose some of what has made them "best" is that they provided an easy to use, easy to search interface with a lot of options. Now what we're facing there is the real-world analog of that public park posting advertising signs and billboards all over the place--some users will find it distasteful and want to leave, others will learn to ignore it and continue on. There is a reason that millions of dollars are paid for advertising signs at hockey rinks and road sides, which is that advertising works!

Re:Facebook is over (1)

Ryanrule (1657199) | about 2 years ago | (#40662569)

True, but you must consider what drives facebook. Most people dont post much, they put up a picture and a few comments. Or if they do post a lot, no one is reading. There are few people that generate a lot of interest and discussion, and those are they people most willing to move on, and their audience follows them.

Useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40649105)

As long as there is no "dislike" button, the whole thing is useless as a rating system.

What i havent seen mentioned (1)

corvax (941506) | about 2 years ago | (#40649887)

There seems to be large groups of these fakes users who are connected by a few different command and control centers . I see a few use cases .... Scenario 1. You as a buisness pay for "likes" from them and real users stumble upon your page and think wow they are liked by 222,000 people they must be good/legit. Scenario 2. They use the fake users to like their own buisness/product/service to make it seem more legitimate. The business could be real or it could be FAKE and used for nefarious purposes Scenario 3. They use the fake users to help drive up stock prices in a pump and dump scheme.

Social signals are bad for search (1)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#40649925)

I've been pointing this out for some time now. See my paper "Social is bad for search, and search is bad for social". [sitetruth.com] As soon as some social signal feeds into search ranking, it gets spammed.

Social spamming is cheaper and easier than classic link farm spamming. Link farms cost money to set up and run. Social spam is hosted for free by Facebook, Google, Yelp. etc. Attempts to stop this have not been successful. Even if 80% of fake accounts are killed off, that just means the spammers have to run more fake account generators. Remember Google's "real names" policy? That didn't work out.

Google, and, to a lesser extent, Bing, are running into a big problem - most of their "signals" are spammable. Links are mostly spam - who links to sites that exist only to advertise? Most content, by volume, is now spam - spam blogs, scraper sites, AOL, and Demand Media. There are even spam newspapers, newspapers that get their content from Demand Media and PR Newswire. The San Francisco Chronicle does this, and fake PR then "stories" show up in Google News.

Google tried weighting links less in their Panda update. [searchenginewatch.com]. It didn't help. Their results in heavily spammed areas became semi-random, and social spamming went up.

That's why there are all those fake accounts.

Oh the irony (1)

ronmon (95471) | about 2 years ago | (#40650203)

The bots that create and operate these fake user accounts are probably smarter than the average real facebook user.

Facebook's "Like" has no value, just like "friend" (1)

squash_me_quickly (663285) | about 2 years ago | (#40650299)

There are loads of place on the internet where one can buy a "Like", places there one can trade them, and possibly other barter systems.

There are "users" that have 10's of thousands of "friends", these are purely created to promote a company, product, etc.

Much of Facebook is just for ego boosting, both for the users, and for the company. Facebook pretends that there are "125 billion friend connections", and that is a load of crap. Most of those are the "124 billion 'some-one' connections"... because many people will friend any-one (even fictitious people), and like any-thing that exists.

Agung Pratama Sevenfoldism (1)

ethanms (319039) | about 2 years ago | (#40655373)

"Agung Pratama Sevenfoldism, showed his date of birth as 1997 and said he had been a manager at Chevron in 2010."

I'm pretty sure the manager at my local gas station is 13 too... so what's the big deal?

This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40656259)

C'mon, even without fake users, the whole "like" thing is meaningless because everyone and their brother is soliciting "likes" from people. "Come win a free XYZ - just 'like' us on Facebook!" Much as Shakespeare's Macbeth said: "it is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

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