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Facebook cracks down on fake user accounts

In a bid to fix its integrity problem, Facebook has begun deleting illegitimate user accounts and fake ‘Likes’, the company confirmed to TechCrunch (opens in new tab). Though the social network has not revealed specific numbers, prominent Pages saw their number of fans decrease significantly yesterday.

Metrics from PageData, a Facebook analytics service, indicated that Zynga’s Texas HoldEm Poker Page dropped by 96,000 fans yesterday and that FarmVille lost more than 45,000 likes. Meanwhile, the Pages of celebrities such as Rihanna and Lady Gaga saw drops of 22,000 and 31,700, respectively.

The site-wide purge comes weeks after Facebook acknowledged that nearly nine per cent per cent, or some 83 million, of its users are fakes - secondary accounts, business accounts that should actually be Pages, or accounts created on behalf of non-human entities. Some were also believed to be ‘Likes’ purchased in bulk to rack up statistics.

(opens in new tab)“When a Page and fan connect on Facebook, we want to ensure that connection involves a real person interested in hearing from a specific Page and engaging with that brand’s content. As such, we have recently increased our automated efforts to remove Likes on Pages that may have been gained by means that violate our Facebook Terms,” the company wrote in a blog post at the time (opens in new tab).

“These newly improved automated efforts will remove those Likes gained by malware, compromised accounts, deceived users, or purchased bulk Likes,” the post continued.

Yesterday Facebook said it had stopped implementing an anonymous survey that asked users to report friends using fake names on the social network, ostensibly another arm of its quest to bolster transparency.