Facebook moves to shutdown spam operation

Facebook announced Friday that it is taking steps to remove "inauthentic likes" from fake accounts on the platform.

In a post, the company wrote that it is taking steps to thwart an ongoing spam operation in which numerous accounts were reportedly generating fake likes and comments on Facebook pages.

According to the company, spammers used "sophisticated means" to conceal their involvement in the same operation, utilizing proxy servers to make it appear like the activity was coming from different locations across the world.

The goal of the operation was to gain new friend connections through the activity, at which point the accounts would start spamming users, Facebook said.

The company noticed that the accounts would become inactive after liking pages, suggesting they hadn't yet been mobilized to connect with - and subsequently spam - other users.

Facebook said Friday that it removed a "substantial number" of the fake likes on the affected pages.

Facebook cracking down on such activity poses questions for some advertisers, who could be paying for ads that aren't being seen by actual humans.

Shabnam Shaik, a program manager on the company's Protect and Care Team, said the purge would nominally affect pages' overall number of likes.

"As we remove the rest of the inauthentic likes, we expect that 99% of impacted Pages with more than 10,000 likes will see a drop of less than 3%. None of these likes were the result of paid ads from the affected Pages," Shaik said.

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based technology company had previously announced that it had taken strides in detecting fake accounts, which it says will help it detect and shut down inauthentic users more quickly in the future.

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