Page Likes Drop After Facebook Purges Fake Accounts

The purge of fake profiles and likes announced by Facebook earlier this month kicked into full gear Wednesday, and the deletion of accounts that were created illegitimately and likes from malware, compromised accounts, deceived users, fake users, and purchased likes caused the like totals of several pages to drop, but in most cases, the effects were minimal.

TechCrunch reported on the start of the purge by Facebook, citing statistics from sister site PageData, and pointing out that five-digit drops in like counts by some of the social network’s most popular pages actually represented fractions of percentages of their totals:

Zynga’s Texas HoldEm Poker lost some 96,000 likes, but that represented just 0.15 percent of its total of more than 63 million.

Pages including “South Park,” Justin Bieber, and Leo Messi also experienced five-digit like losses, but in all three cases, the percentage of total likes lost was around 0.03.

Those figures conform to what Facebook promised in its announcement earlier this month:

On average, fewer than 1 percent of likes on any given page will be removed, providing they and their affiliates have been abiding by our terms. These newly improved automated efforts will remove those likes gained by malware, compromised accounts, deceived users, or purchased bulk likes. While we have always had dedicated protections against each of these threats on Facebook, these improved systems have been specifically configured to identify and take action against suspicious likes.

In explaining its move, the social network said earlier this month:

A like that doesn’t come from someone truly interested in connecting with a page benefits no one. Real identity, for both users and brands on Facebook, is important to not only Facebook’s mission of helping the world share, but also the need for people and customers to authentically connect to the pages they care about. When a page and fan connect on Facebook, we want to ensure that the connection involves a real person interested in hearing from a specific page and engaging with that brand’s content. As such, we have recently increased our automated efforts to remove likes on pages that may have been gained by means that violate our Facebook terms.

Readers: AllFacebook appears to have lost 147 likes so far Wednesday and Thursday as a result of the purge by Facebook. Have you noticed any severe declines in the like totals of pages you manage or frequent?

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