Are internet users about to realise how many Facebook 'likes' could actually be worthless?

The End of Facebook Likes?

Last month I wrote about how getting Facebook ‘Likes’ doesn’t do anything for your SEO because search engines like Google know they can be purchased by the thousands.

“Yes”, said one of my clients. “But internet users don’t know that and when they come to a site with 3,000 Likes they feel confidence.”

There is certainly some truth in that and if you want a few thousand facebook followers all you need to do is take out an advertisement on the social network. Your budget will be munched up oh so quickly but a poke around your new admirers show most probably don’t exist. It only costs a few dollars so if you want the figures, then why not.

But the point remains internet users see the number of likes a website has as a positive aspect – most are completely unaware that fake accounts are driving many of these.

But the light is beginning to dawn. A recent report by the BBC set up a Facebook page for a company that did absolutely nothing. They took out some advertising and received ‘Likes’ by the bucket.

A little more digging around and what do you know? Highly suspicious profiles of ‘people’ who seem to do nothing but like pages!

Facebook itself admits it has no real idea how much of it’s user base is phantom but their finger in the air estimate is 5-6%, or about 50 million accounts. The trouble is they don’t know.

Their other major issue is that, unless you focus your advertising very carefully, your budget is eaten up by these fakes which Facebook doesn’t really mind because it’s cash in the bank for them.

But I am beginning to wonder, as more and more journalists report on this issue, if one day having lots of Facebook ‘Likes’ will actually be seen as a bad thing?