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The Persuader

My personal blog, started in 2006.



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22.08.2014

Caveat emptor: Facebook’s click farm problem is worsening

Many people will remember this video, which exposed Facebook using click farms to inflate customers’ likes (I would have used Veritasium’s original, but YouTube won’t show embedding codes at the moment):
 
Facebook Fraud Exposed: Does Facebook Advertising Lead to Fake Likes? from Reputation911 on Vimeo
 
   I won’t repeat what they exposed, as the video does a far better job. Essentially, they are building up fake profiles with group activity, to look like legitimate profiles when they become members of various pages. However, I am noticing that the problem is getting worse. Despite getting busted, Facebook is making sure that engagement on its fan pages gets worse, so you have to pay for promotion.
   One group I run, which has over 10,000 members, mostly in Germany, is getting a lot of these fake likers, principally from Morocco. Each day we’ve had over a dozen. Two, so far, even claim that they work for Facebook on their profiles (here’s one). (Facebook was contacted for comment, and, as usual, I have heard nothing back.) Now, you can claim these people are putting fake employers down, and that’s a reasonable conclusion. But even if they aren’t working for Facebook, they are working for a click farm, which can’t be any good for the website. In addition, Facebook is doing nothing to delete these click-farm profiles. [PS.: Despite being allowed to remain for years, Facebook deleted these accounts after this blog post was written.]
   There are similar characteristics: there are lots of photos, but few that could be regarded as profile photos. The majority have random imagery. As with a lot of fake profiles, they are multilingual: these guys never, ever post a status in German, yet a lot (over 90 per cent) of their groups are German. The latest one I saw claimed to be based in Netherlands and did not have a single friend with a Dutch name. One had over 1,000 likes, which is not unreasonable, either—yet you could group them by industry! It was very obvious that they were being paid. I was fooled with the first few, but not after you get six in a night—and they have only increased in number since.

Morocco 1

Morocco 2

Morocco 3

   They are harder to spot than the obvious fakes which use a stock photo for the profile, or the ones from China which all have joined the same poker game, or those that have only joined groups beginning with the letter A.
   I realize these folks have to make a buck. But we, as Facebook customers, have to understand the effects. It means Facebook campaigns are becoming increasingly poor value, and, at some point—maybe even now—it will not be worth paying a cent to the company to reach potential fans if there are other means.

PS.: One was accidentally let through and posted an irrelevant video, so they could be spammers getting extra hits for their clients.—JY

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Filed under: business, internet, marketing, USA—Jack Yan @ 14.13

4 Responses to ‘Caveat emptor: Facebook’s click farm problem is worsening’

  1. […] Caveat emptor: Facebook’s click farm problem is worsening « Jack Yan: the Persuader Blog on Facebook pages are broken […]

  2. […] Facebook loves spammers « Jack Yan: the Persuader Blog on Caveat emptor: Facebook’s click farm problem is worsening […]

  3. […]    I don’t know how many hours I wasted on this in total, but I know I have saved many users a lot of time. For many days I found a lot of other Facebookers forced to do the same, and gave them some simple advice so that they would not fall into the same trap. Others have come to this blog: I’ve had some decent traffic around the two posts I wrote on the subject.    People really need to know that not only is Facebook messing around with your settings and tracking you, they are putting things on your computer. I’m glad, then, that I will principally remain there for a few messages, and page and group administration—the latter very necessary given all the bots and spammers that now plague the website. I’m sure I can’t be alone in spotting numerous spammers per day, spammers which Facebook often does nothing about when reported. That, too, should make us wonder. […]

  4. […] to pay for shares, and as Facebook is full of fake accounts, many of whom go liking pages, then the more you pay, the less real engagement your page is going to get.    We felt that if a company could be this dishonest, it really wasn’t worth putting […]

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