Media outlets hits by massive “fake like” campaign; Facebook purges 200 million

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May 9, 2017 by Paul Dughi


USA Today lost nearly 6 million likes in April.  They were fake Facebook accounts that had liked the paper.  Parent company Gannett said there are still more than two million more fake accounts floating around.  That adds up to roughly 38% of all likes, according to a CBS analysis of the USA Today Facebook page.

Gannett had reached out to the FBI after the fake accounts continued to grow despite the purge.  About 1,000 likes from fake users are hitting the Facebook pages every day.

It’s a growing problem for media sites.  In April, Facebook deleted an astonishing 200 million fake likes from about a dozen media outlets.  The problem, however, appears to be continuing.

“The apparent intent of the campaign was to deceptively gain new friend connections by liking and interacting primarily with popular publisher pages on our platform, after which point they would send spam.” – Facebook (April)

According to CBS, CNN lost 223,000 likes.  The network newscasts were hit.  NBC Nightly News lost 3.4% of its likes.  ABC World New lost 6.7%.  CBS Evening News lost 12%.  That was in April.  The fake like campaigns continue.

“We observed that the bulk of these accounts became dormant after liking a number of Pages, suggesting they had not been mobilized yet to actually make connections and send spam to those people.” – Facebook (April)

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