Is there a real person behind every Facebook ‘like’ and ‘vote? Research has suggested that there are a number of people who are actually creating fake Facebook profiles and using them to drive up their page ‘likes’ and ‘vote’ count in Facebook competitions.
Facebook campaigns are versatile and can be tailored to almost any company; from multi-million dollar enterprises to non-profit organizations.
For companies Facebook competitions are a great way to get fans engaged and build brand awareness For the fans these competitions are an opportunity to showcase talents, photos, creativity etc. It’s a bit of healthy competition where the winner is decided by the top number of ‘votes’ for their submission.
These competitions have been known to become tainted though with the shady act of ‘vote exchange’. With ‘vote exchange’ users build up multiple Facebook accounts, whether it be a few or a few hundred and exchange votes (most often one for one) with other multiple Facebook account holders.
Creating multiple Facebook accounts is a lengthy process which entails verifying new email addresses, uploading photos, gathering friends etc.
Once these fake profiles are created, users can find others with multiple fake accounts by simply typing in words such as exchange, vote, contest etc. From such searches group pages will be brought up that are based around trading ‘votes’ and ‘likes’. Users will make posts regarding how many ‘votes’ or ‘likes’ they have to trade and when another user sends a reply the trade is on.
Generally they give each other the links to the various pages, comments, post, or competition entry and once the trade of ‘likes’ and ‘votes’. Normally votes are exchanged on a one to one basis, but in cases of urgency traders will offer their votes at a reduced exchange rate. For example they will advertise their 80 votes for 50% off meaning they will give 80 votes to someone for only 40 in return.
Even though it is tricky to identify who is participating in ‘vote’ and ‘like’ exchanges there have been Facebook purges that have been aimed at eliminating fake fan ‘likes’.
Facebook has been focusing their efforts to cleansing pages and the system in general of fake users. A number of pages, especially those with a large fan base, have been seeing sudden drops of fans. Many of times well established brands with large fan bases are unaware that they have attracted fake fans.
For pages that have had recently experienced sudden substantial drops in fans don’t panic. Even though a high number is attractive, having real fans and votes is more important in respect to the nature of social media.
The power of Facebook and other social platforms is rooted in real social interaction and communication. It’s all about genuine engagement and sharing which fake fans cannot deliver. For more information on the Facebook fake fan purge check out Operation Unlike.11 October 2012