Facebook’s ‘Like’ button, a popular feature throughout the internet, acts as a means to measure the reputation of a website or specific content posted online. However, researchers have found out that it is easy to fraudulently boost the number of likes, thus minimizing its value as a method for gauging popularity.
Demo videos showing how fake ‘Likes’ can be created
The issue of fake ‘Likes’ has been around for a while now, and the social networking giant has looked to sort out the problem over the past few years by releasing updates to its software to remove the bogus Likes generated by spammers. However, researchers at McGill University’s School of Computer Science who also released a research paper on the matter this week, claim that the company has not yet fixed major problems with the feature.
A demo video shows how one can inflate Likes by just adding comments to a post. Based on that, researchers inferred that it was possible to gain up to 20 likes per minute by creating a post, adding fake comments, deleting the post and repeating the process.
In another demonstration, a fake webpage highlighting disgraced investor Bernard Madoff was created. This was followed by sharing of the website, having an embedded Like button, on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB). It was observed that anyone who commented on the page automatically increased the Like count. Moreover, it was found that if a Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) user deleted a post, it did not decrease the amount of likes.
Fake ‘Likes’ on Facebook an area of concern
Further research on this topic is necessary as some companies might be considering ‘Likes’ in developing their marketing strategies. As notted by Xeu Liu, professor at McGill, there are easy ways to manipulate Likes, and on the internet today, Likes are worth money. In addition, an average Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) user may not know how ‘Like’ works, as most people assume that one user can generate only a single like.
Other online services such as YouTube and Quora have added ‘dislike’ or ‘downvote’ buttons,in an attempt to alleviate the fake ‘Like’ problem. However, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has to yet come up with a real solution to the problem.