Unless you work in social media marketing or are up to date on the latest spam tactics, you might not have known that most popular Facebook accounts are populated by spam. Companies that generate revenue from spam set up fake Facebook accounts with the sole intention to sell products through spamming users.
This past week, Facebook decided to crack down on those spam accounts. The social media company did a massive sweep of fake Facebook accounts in order to eliminate false likes and comments. The company has been working on finding false accounts for more than a month.
Facebook has told press that multiple fake accounts have been operated by people in Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and a number of other countries. There appear to be many (possibly hundreds or thousands) of fake accounts.
The object of these accounts is to like and comment on other pages (usually popular brands and popular accounts), obtain ‘likes’ and friends from other accounts, and then spam those accounts en masse. For the past few years, those fake spam accounts have been working rather well. Interestingly, Facebook is also working to crack down on fake news.
Intricate Spam Rings
There’s a massive problem with obtaining news through social networks. Often, the news that you read and share is false. The issue is that people read this false news and then share it - spreading the news to hundreds or thousands of other people. Eventually, the news that is false becomes seen and known as truth. This is dangerous.
Spammers purposely create fake news headlines and articles, share those links on many different pages, and gain followers through those links. Once those followers have been gained, they work to send spam to those people. Facebook has noted that the company’s new algorithm will recognize patterns such as multiple posts in order to crack down on spam accounts.
The Flip Side
Even though it’s a great thing that Facebook is trying to cut back on spam accounts (and stop the spread of false news), the company is largely using automation in order to find those false accounts. While automated programs can recognize patterns that spammers use, programs are not perfect.
Some companies have noted this past week that they lost thousands of followers through Facebook, and some of those accounts may or may not have been spam accounts. So what do you do if you have largely grown your company through a network like Facebook and you rely on followers?
Right now, there’s nothing that you can do to prevent spam accounts or stop Facebook from closing accounts that might have been authentic, you can post real content and be aware that posting the same content to multiple groups might mark your business as spam. If you do work in social media, it will also pay to understand the technology behind Facebook’s new spam algorithms.
Facebook (and other social networks) will always be working towards shutting down spam accounts. That’s just the nature of the social media beast. For the most part, this is a good thing. But in some ways, innocent people running regular accounts might be penalized.