Facebook has stepped up its battle against spammers who promise to deliver “likes” to its members, and warned users on using such scams.
The social network said that to date, it has obtained legal judgments of nearly $2 billion against fraudulent activities on Facebook. It was not clear how much of that was actually collected.
Many businesses buy likes to make their products or brands appear more popular.
Facebook’s moves appeared to counter concerns that users, including politicians and companies selling products, are buying “likes” to make them appear more popular. And it is targeting a cottage industry which seeks to deliver these results to Facebook members, often promising “10,000 likes” or more for a fee.
But Facebook said bumping up likes this way did “more harm than good”, and could mean companies “could end up doing less business” on the social network.
In a post on its security blog, Facebook said: “We have a strong incentive to aggressively get rid of fake likes because businesses and people who use our platform want real connections and results, not fakes.”
It explained: “Fake-like-pedlars tempt Page admins with offers to “buy 10,000 likes!” or other similar schemes.
“To deliver those likes, the scammers often try to create fake accounts, or in some cases, even hack into real accounts in order to use them for sending spam and acquiring more likes.
“Since these fraudulent operations are financially motivated businesses, we focus our energy on making this abuse less profitable for the spammers.”
It said as well as the legal action, these efforts included investing in sophisticated anti-spam algorithms.