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Facebook

The cull has started: Facebook is clearing out fake likes from fan pages

If you’ve been staring at your Facebook Insights panel in frustration and wondering why your fans are suddenly unliking your page, don’t blame your latest lackluster status update. Facebook is cleaning house — it’s removing fans which it detects are not authentic, genuinely interested users.

Lauren Granger
While studying towards her Bachelor of Journalism degree at Rhodes University, Lauren gave into her fascination with everything digital. As she was more interested in creeping... More

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The social network recently announced its plan to restore the integrity of the site by increasing its automated efforts to remove likes on brand pages from the type of users who violate its terms of use. These include fan page likes gained through malware, compromised accounts, deceived users, or bulk likes the brand may have paid for.

Facebook confirmed to TechCrunch that it is busy with the purge — and you can see it in the numbers. A glance at the fan growth of some of the top Facebook pages (provided by PageData), shows that a number of pages are bleeding red and losing tens of thousands of fans. For example, the fan page for Zynga’s Texas HoldEm Poker lost some 96 000 fans in one day and musicians like Eminem, Rihanna and Shakira have lost approximately 15 000, 28 000 and 26 000 fans respectively in the same time period. The stats generally show that the number of fans was increasing steadily, up until a few days ago (around September 24). Take a look at Lady Gaga‘s fan growth, for example:

lady gaga follower count

The losses may seem high, but they are quite a low percentage of total fan counts (some of these pages have more than 60-million fans). Facebook has said that “less than one percent of likes on any given page will be removed, providing they and their affiliates have been abiding by our terms.”

The action is part of a move to make sure the fans of pages are actually users interested in a specific brand, which the company hopes will drive real engagement around brands’ content on Facebook. Just another reason why you should focus on how much people interact with your fan page and not simply try to boost your follower count.