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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Be Careful what you 'Like'

You scroll past it like I do. We mostly ignore the suggestions of Facebook for pages that we might like that have been liked by others. It's a part of the growing advertising push of Facebook as the, now publicly traded, company seeks to increase revenue and please shareholders.

But what if your friends didn't actually like the page? What if a page shows up as liked by you and you didn't like it. What if that page supports ideas diametrically opposed to what you believe? What then?

Well, Bernard Meisler over at ReadWrite has research that very thing and found that it's happening. Not only are people having likes added to their profiles without permission, but those who are deceased are still liking pages from beyond the grave. Something is amiss here.

According to Meisler, Facebook denies that they're doing it and they want it to stop. It's terrible for their business model if fake-likes are being generated because they can't give consistent ad statistics to potential advertisers which undermines the value of any advertisement.

But people are still phantom-liking pages that they've never clicked on, never seen, and sometimes can't even read. So, what's happening.

There's no evidence for this yet, but my best guess is that a rogue app is generating the fake-likes. Apps can be given permission to post on the behalf of a person and that posting could be through liking pages. It's possible that some apps are willingly and maliciously using people to generate fake-likes. It's also possible that an app you trusted was hacked and the ne're-do-wells are slithering in that way.

However it's working, fake-likes are proliferating on Facebook and it can make you look bad. You can protect your image online by regularly checking your actual likes.

  • Go to your Facebook profile (i.e. click your name in the upper right corner of the Facebook website). 
  • Click "Likes" from the navigation bar just under your cover photo. 
  • Look through the list of likes to check that you've added them all. 
    • Hover over the name of a page until the information window pops up. 
    • Hover over the "Liked" button until the dialog menu pops up
    • Click "Unlike" to remove the page from your profile. 
You might also want to deactivate any apps that you've added recently or that you no longer use. 
  • Click the arrow next to your name at the top right of your Facebook page. 
  • Choose "Account Settings."
  • Click "Apps" from the list on the left. 
  • Click the "X" to the right of any app you don't use or don't recognize. 
  • Confirm that you want to delete the app from your page. 
Have you seen any suspicious likes? 

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