Something funny is going on over at Facebook. A couple days ago, this article hit the internet and has raised some questions about the site’s “like” feature. The author started getting curious about it when he started noticing unusual behavior from some of his Facebook friends, such as anarchists “liking” major corporations and vegetarians “liking” meaty McDonalds meals. What stood out the most was that some of his dead friends had been liking various (usually corporate) pages.
The author contacted Facebook about it, and they (of course) just said that the likes from living users are probably accidental and that the “likes” people make can resurface in their timelines long after they make them, explaining the dead peoples’ Facebook activity. Maybe that’s possible, but it’s not very convincing, especially since this isn’t the first time Facebook has had a problem with fake likes. What’s actually going on (if their story is just a cover) is hard to say. It’s possible that third parties who have access to users’ accounts are selling likes to big companies. Or it could be a problem with the site. Whatever it is, Facebook needs to get it under control. Users don’t like having their accounts manipulated, and shareholders don’t like false information being spread. The only reason Facebook is worth so much money is because they have a mountain of user data that advertisers are interested in, and the less reliable that data becomes, the less Facebook will be worth. However, Facebook has been allowing third parties to run wild on the site since day one. All kinds of apps and games demand full access to users’ profiles in exchange for the service. Now that it has the potential to hurt Facebook, will the company finally crack down on the permissions that third parties can demand?