From the author:

Evidence Facebook’s revenue is based on fake likes.

My first vid on the problem with Facebook:
I know first-hand that Facebook’s advertising model is deeply flawed. When I paid to promote my page I gained 80,000 followers in developing countries who didn’t care about Veritasium (but I wasn’t aware of this at the time). They drove my reach and engagement numbers down, basically rendering the page useless. I am not the only one who has experienced this. Rory Cellan-Jones had the same luck with Virtual Bagel.

The US Department of State spent $630,000 to acquire 2 million page likes and then realized only 2% were engaged.

I thought I would demonstrate that the same thing is still happening now by creating Virtual Cat ( I was surprised to discover something worse – false likes are coming from everywhere, including Canada, the US, the UK, and Australia. So even those carefully targeting their campaigns are likely being duped into spending real money on fake followers. Then when they try to reach their followers they have to pay again.

And it’s possible to be a victim of fake likes without even advertising. Pages that end up on Facebook’s “International Suggested Pages” are also easy targets for click-farms seeking to diversify their likes. Thanks to Henry, Grey, and Nessy for feedback on earlier drafts of this video.

Category: Really, really bad calls, Technology, Video

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

18 Responses to “Facebook Fraud: Click Farms & Fake Likes”

  1. Neildsmith says:

    This is a great story! It is amazing just how easily we get sucked in by online scams. I don’t know what to believe anymore.

  2. DeDude says:

    Fake likes – how humiliating. Thankfully, I never allowed Facebook to infest my computer.

  3. [...] That viral video about Facebook being driven by fake likes is up to 900,000 views and I haven’t seen a single mention of it in the mainstream press yet.  (TBP) [...]

  4. sdpost5 says:

    This is really fascinating and useful. It’s easy to be skeptical of Facebook’s business model, but this hands-on demonstration of some glaring, specific current flaws is an eye opener. (And as an aside, the beauty of this blog is how often we get to peek below the flattened numbers — whether GDP, earnings before bad stuff, eyeballs, or nowadays, tweets and likes.)

  5. USSofA says:

    I’ve been subscribed to veritasium on youtube for a while now. Mostly things pertaining to physics. Always entertaining and very educational.

  6. whskyjack says:

    Ya know that is sad.and in a way very short sighted of Facebook. I know a few young mom&pop type business owners who are using facebook and twitter to grow their businesses. I think I will pass this along, to give them a heads up to the sucker aspect of dealing with facebook.
    Thanks for the info


  7. b_thunder says:

    Looks like FB today is going to hit all-time high, which will trigger a bunch of new analyst “upgrades.”

    Which brings me to a question: what’s the difference between FaceBook “likes” and Wall St. analyst “upgrades?” Are the Wall St. “upgrades” any more useful that the fake “likes?”

  8. A monied like would be much more difficult to fake… even if it was only for a penny.

    While I understand that for a business promotion or a friend’s travel photos it wouldn’t really be useful… in other areas it completely changes the game. (charity, politics, journalism)

    Characteristics of the Monied “Like” Button

    • a solution:

      an (e.g.) 1/10 cent payment connected to the current Like button (whether it was credited to the likee or something else*) stop the Facebook Fraud problem by making them non-viable for clickfarms.. and still not seriously impact the original button’s usability?

      *for instance a user could designate a charity recipient for these likes

  9. VennData says:

    Paying for friends are the result of Obama’s Occupy culture that denigrates the successful to the point where people don’t like us anymore, as they did under Bush when we got sorely needed tax cuts.

    - Jack Welch

    Like: Tom Perkins

  10. rj chicago says:

    Whaaaaat? Zuckerberg imposing a fraud on the lowly of us who are just not tech savvy enough to figure out that he is in the game for himself and his agenda. Really?

  11. Livermore Shimervore says:

    SEC investigation in 1,2, 3….

  12. RC says:

    As I have previously claimed here, it is a matter of time before advertisers realize that they are vastly over paying for ads on facebook. The price of facebook ads should be same as what it is on yahoo. It is a display ad business, none of that targeting BS.
    Which means that the market cap of facebook the company will also converge at the level of yahoo – a display ad portal.

  13. SoccrRef says:

    Now imagine how the big corporations feel who have spent millions to acquire fans. If >30% of fans (which means 5+ million fans for some corporations) are fake, that is millions spent with no possible return.