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Facebook Targets Overseas Companies Trading in Fake Profiles, Followers and Likes

Facebook fake profile

Protecting the integrity of the information on social media sites continues to be a hot-button issue. Recently, Facebook broke new ground in this arena by filing a lawsuit accusing four Chinese companies of generating and selling fraudulent likes, followers and more.

Although the lawsuit addresses Facebook specifically, the accused overseas businesses allegedly violated terms of use for other popular services including Amazon, Apple, Google, LinkedIn and Twitter. Regardless of the outcome, Facebook is advancing a new standard that peddling fake accounts and misinformation can land a company in legal trouble.

The Spread of Misinformation on Social Media Sites

In just a nine-month period spanning January through September of 2018, Facebook and Instagram dismantled over two billion fake accounts. Many of these accounts conducted fraudulent activity and violated the terms of use for sites through actions including:

  • Using Facebook-specific domain names in the operation of a website
  • Selling fake user accounts, followers and generating likes
  • Hosting Facebook-specific trademarks on a website and more

Additionally, recent discoveries of foreign entities, both state and non-state sponsored, attempting to influence the outcome of elections and sow the seeds of discontent via social media has opened the door for a debate on data integrity in the digital age.

According to a copy of the complaint, the four Chinese companies in question advertised a wide range of services to boost the number of likes on a page, populate posts with fake comments, generate fake accounts to connect as “friends” and a wide range of additional illegal activities.

No Shortcut to Building Positive User Experiences

Although Facebook’s crackdown on fraudulent activity is at the forefront of the news, other industry leaders, including Amazon, have filed similar suits in the past targeting companies posting false, five-star, user reviews. In today’s online marketing world, many users rely on, and place significant trust in, the content of these reviews. Ultimately, there is no shortcut or substitution for building a positive user experience for customers through hosting engaging, high-quality content and delivering exceptional products and services which earn positive user reviews.

Overall, regardless of the outcome, Facebook’s recent lawsuit could serve as a wake up call for any small business or startup considering boosting a social media presence or enhancing a reputation through channels which violate a site’s terms of service.

Shawn Stalter

Posted on 5th March, 2019 by Shawn Stalter

About Shawn Stalter

Shawn Stalter is a Dallas-based content writer and retired military intelligence officer.

View all posts by Shawn Stalter

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