Facebook Drops the Hammer on Spam Ring, Purging Thousands of Fake Accounts

Social Media Week

The announcement follows public scrutiny around the authenticity of user accounts within Facebook’s walled garden.

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Facebook has shut down thousands of fake accounts that are believed to be part of a spam operation that the company had been combating for six months.

The spam ring, with accounts mostly originating from Bangladesh, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, operated by liking publisher accounts and then targeting followers of those accounts with content. Facebook warned publishers that they might see a drop in page like counts on their pages as a result of the massive crackdown. The dips for pages with more than 10,000 likes should not exceed 3 percent.

The announcement comes following widespread scrutiny of Facebook’s measurement practices by the advertising community. Last year, Facebook apologized to advertisers for providing inflated figures around the amount of time users were spending with video ads. The misstep resulted in a broader discussion about the platform’s ability to provide accurate and transparent metrics to advertisers. Facebook’s ad revenue topped $27 billion in 2016.

Facebook’s advertising product offers marketers with the promise of targeting real people based on comprehensive data about who they are, where they live and what they like. This value prop loses credibility if brands are reaching not people, but spam accounts or bots. One senior executive likened serving an ad to a bot as “throwing money down the drain.”

To win back trust, Facebook has made efforts to improve its advertising measurement standards. Just today, the platform announced an expanded partnership with comScore to “increase trust and transparency in digital advertising.”

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Katie Perry

Contributor, Social Media Week

Katie Perry is a marketing & content strategist and contributor to SMW News, a leading news platform covering startups, tech, brands and the future of work. You can follow Katie on Twitter at @katieeperry.

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