PHONY “LIKES” OF PRODUCTS AND COMPANIES APPEARING ON #FACEBOOK

Don’t believe every thumbs up you see on Facebook!

Be aware that the rash of Facebook friends randomly “liking” companies or businesses may be fake.

According to the Financial Times, “Facebook users are complaining that products and causes are appearing in the “Likes” category of their accounts, though they have no memory of ever clicking on the Like button for those companies and campaigns.

“The recent wave of “false Likes” caused particular concern around the US presidential election, even online fights among friends, when the profiles of ardent Obama supporters showed Likes to Mitt Romney.”

Specifically, a person without interest in an Austrian country was shown liking its travel site, and another person was shown to “like” Duracell Batteries, though she’d never expressed a fondness for any batteries.

Nobody’s certain about the origin of the false Likes.

Facebook isn’t aware of any viruses or attacks by hackers that would falsely prompt likes for certain companies, yet there were a limited number of instances of mobile users accidentally Liking a button while swiping through Facebook on their phones.

Another theory is that the false Likes are a result of Facebook’s displaying more advertising on its mobile apps.

Shuman Ghosemajumder, former investigator of click fraud at Google and current vice-president of strategy at Shape Security, believes the false likes result from misleading language that tricks users into liking certain items.

Ghosemajumder says, “It can fool the user into clicking on things when they thought they were just browsing for something.  There have been instances of brands being pretty aggressive about wanting to increase the number of Likes on their pages.”

Concerns over the future of Facebook’s advertising on mobile devices have depressed the company’s stock price since the IPO was first offered.

It would be in Facebook’s best interest to discover the cause of the false Likes and put a stop to them.

Source:  SmartPlanet Daily, November 11, 2012

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