The Dead Return on Facebook?

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?

11 responses to “The Dead Return on Facebook?

  1. I haven’t experienced any of these “fake likes,” but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is really an issue with third parties abusing their access to our accounts. I’ve been wary of any apps on Facebook that ask for permission to my account, and rarely use them. Maybe if Facebook did crack down on them, I (and others) would feel more comfortable using them.

  2. This is interesting as a similar thing happened to some friends and I a few months ago. As the November election was fast approaching, a number of mysterious likes for candidates began to appear. Ron Paul die-hards suddenly began liking Mitt Romney in droves. Political apathetics started voicing their approval of Obama. And this all comes on the heels of fake Twitter followers of Newt Gingrich and others.

    In politics perception is everything. Although I have no problem with people liking politicians on Facebook, I do have a problem when it’s done without their permission. Certainly the same could be said for corporations. It’s bad taste and bad business for Facebook. They better fix this problem soon, or people will be searching for its replacement.

  3. I feel like this is almost laughable — I mean, way to go Facebook, good job finding a new way to promote your pages with fake users after those were allegedly deleted several months ago. I think Facebook is great, and perhaps it’s a little weird that they are subscribing, or whatnot, to these pages, but I don’t think it’s worth switching to the new social media network. Facebook claims they have 1 billion accounts, but we all know those are rife with fake users. I think it’s gotten to be so big that even Facebook is going to have a tough time cracking down on this “issue.” But personally, I don’t think it’s that big of an issue. I think with applications that ask you FIRST if you want to allow third parties access to your account, you’re asking for them to hold and use your information. Facebook users still hold most of the control…

    • I completely agree with you on one thing: This issue is not worth switching to a whole new social media network. Otherwise, I think that these “fake likes” are a big deal! I personally have not experienced these “fake likes” (or noticed), but I would be extremely annoyed if my page showed me liking things that I did not like. What if I accidentally liked something offensive? Though it may not seem like a big deal, people often judge others based on the things that they like, especially if it is something offensive, political, religious (or any of those other things that you are not supposed to talk about).

      As for the third party applications, are those proven to be where the fake likes are coming from? It’s too bad that we cannot trust third party applications. I like to have all of my applications connected to my Facebook, but if that is going to encourage third party bias, I will stop syncing all of my applications to Facebook.

  4. I’ve noticed this as well, but surprisingly it has been happening on my own page too. There are things that I’ve never “liked” suddenly showing up on my news feed saying that I liked them. Normally I could just write it off as a backdoor within Facebook’s system opened via games and other applications except for the fact that I refuse to use an app or play games on Facebook. In addition, they’re legitimate businesses and public figures rather than the usual joke “likes” that friends put up if one were to leave an account logged in. So, either there’s something wrong with the website itself, or the administration is in fact engaging in shady dealings.

  5. It’s surprising how easy it is to set up a fake facebook account. All you need is a fake email and creating a new identity is at the tip of your fingers. I can see how this is a problem, and I’m sure they’re trying to find a way to stop or at least prevent it from happening. The thing is, it may not be a big deal to most active users on facebook. They could always “unlike” something they didn’t like so the problem doesn’t garner a lot of attention (I wonder if facebook keeps track of people’s unliking activity as well). If someone’s fake or gone, people usually care less about them. It’s all about publicity at this point, and I really hope facebook is doing everything in their power to keep up the security and the privacy of the users. Too bad the whole purpose of social networking sites is to be able to share things with people (kind of counterproductive, don’t you think?).

  6. I don’t think I have experienced this problem and I don’t think that I have seen it happen to anyone on my friends list either. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the third party app problem. Often when you use a service online and you choose to login through Facebook or twitter, the company will automatically have your account ‘Like’ there page or ‘Follow’ them on Twitter. Although you do have the option of opting out of liking their page or following them on Twitter, it is sometimes difficult to read through all of the small print to know what they are doing and what you are giving them permission to do with your Facebook or your Twitter account. But I think that it is something that they need to make easier, because I am sure that people don’t appreciate being taken advantage of in this way.

  7. This happened to a (living) friend of mine, who is very active on Facebook, so we had no idea his “likes” and posts weren’t legitimate. He would consistently show up in my news feed for “liking” anti-Democrat pages, which I initially thought was odd due to his liberal nature but wasn’t about to judge. It made things very awkward when as a group, we were discussing politics (around the time of the election), and everyone became noticeably quiet when the politician my friend had been unknowingly bashing was mentioned. He asked, “What?”, and I asked what he had against the guy–because I honestly had no idea. The conversation ended in a lot of laughs and my friend being very embarrassed and confused, but needless to say, he had no idea these posts were appearing on his behalf–for weeks!

  8. Like Jordan above i’ve never seen this or even heard of it, but it doesn’t surprise me. It seems like the people who complain the most about their accounts getting hacked are the annoying people who keep sending you Farmville requests 37 times a day. So it wouldn’t surprise me if this was because of 3rd party apps. I guess my solution is to just avoid them, if something on Facebook ever asks for access to my account i ignore it and delete it as quickly as possible.

  9. I think it is kind of crazy how third party apps demand so much access to your account. It is also kind of crazy how many “false likes” there are out there. I think this is a problem because it invades your personal privacy. Also, the things you “like” say something about the person you are. No one wants to be misrepresented. No one wants to like something they hate! I think I would be pretty upset if I found out that someone hacked into my account and was liking things that I don’t actually like. Why is it so important for people to create false likes? Does that somehow help out companies if there are more people that “like” them on Facebook? How can these false likings be stopped or restricted? Can Facebook themselves stop it, or would they care to? I think we need to set stricted guidelines for what third parties have access to and they should be held accountable for what they do with your information!

  10. Not experience this personally of unusal likes or fake profiles. This brings a similar issue that a friend of mine is dealing with. She is currently dealing with a issue of someone who created a fake Facebook account of her, claiming to be her and posting statuses that don’t even sound like her. This created profile had access to her photos, and light information. Futhermore, this indivdual has added her friends and while claiming to be her has been sending messages that are ruining her friendship with her real friends. She is clearly upset and has been trying to Flag this profile. The thing is this profile has not been taken down yet. This situation is the feeling of being hacked and is not cool.
    I think that fake likes, profile accounts are to be examined nmuch closer and done something about it. Technology these days always update their privacy settings, but way taking a long time to go into effect, like my friends request to spam that account.

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