Facebook has started to delete fake page likes that artificially inflate popularity, according to a data report. A number of the social network’s most popular pages saw a sufficient drop in likes on Wednesday, according to Pagedata.

Celebrities including Justin Bieber, Rihanna and Lady Gaga saw at least 25,000 followers on their pages disappear overnight as the cull came into force. The statistics showed one of the sites popular pages, Zynga’s Texas HoldEm Poker lost 96,317 ‘likes’, which was a stark difference to the 20,000 it had been gaining each day for the past month.

The clear-out is designed to make Facebook more attractive to advertisers by making it easier for them to target genuine users. The US Company has admitted 8.7 per cent of the profiles on the site are not ‘real’ and are used by spammers to make pages more popular. It is thought the social network is getting serious with the issue because it could possibly affect its targeted advertising service. Facebook announced the cull yesterday in a blog post. It said the fake accounts generated ‘fraudulent likes’ and were ‘harmful to all users and the internet’. The crackdown will typical reduce the number of likes on a page by one per cent, Facebook said. Technology journalist Dinah Greek of Computer-active magazine, said false accounts were a ‘huge problem’ for social networking sites. ‘They are used for a whole host of internet scams and by internet trolls. They’re a real pain for everyone,’ she added.

Facebook stock fell over the weekend from over $22 per share to just over $20 representing a drop of about 10%. Given that the company had opened its IPO at around $38 a share, that is a precipitous decline indeed, nearly 47% of its initial value. It is no wonder that action is being taken to optimize its revenue channels.

Vishal Pindoriya

Vishal Pindoriya is a social media enthusiast, strategist and writer. He lives in London, England and is particularly interested in the proliferation of social media around the world.

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