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Facebook Fraud

Facebook Fraud


Have you heard of Virtual Bagel? Their Facebook
page has over 4,000 likes. They use the page to promote their brilliant
business model ‘we send you bagels via the Internet — just download and enjoy.’ It sounds like a joke, and it is, sort of.
This page was set up by BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones in 2012. He wanted to find out what is the worth of
a like on a Facebook page, so he bought some likes for Virtual Bagel. Now there are two
ways to buy ‘likes’, the legitimate way and the illegitimate way. The illegitimate way is to go to a website
like BoostLikes.com purchase some likes. You can get 1000 for $70. Sites like these use clickfarms in developing
countries like India, the Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Indonesia and Bangladesh. Here employees are routinely paid just 1 dollar
per thousand clicks of the like button. So Facebook explicitly forbids buying likes
this way. Instead they offer the ‘legitimate’ way to
pay for likes by advertising your page. Prominently displayed is a link to “Get more likes” with
the promise: “Connect with more of the people who matter to you.” And this is how Virtual Bagel got its 4000
likes. Rory Cellan-Jones paid 100 dollars to Facebook and the likes rolled in. He targeted
his ad to the UK and the United States, but also to countries like Egypt, Indonesia and
the Philippines. Now where do you think Virtual Bagel was most popular? I’ll give you a hint,
it wasn’t the US or the UK. But within a day he had over 1600 likes mostly from developing
countries. Now what was more problematic was the people
who followed Virtual Bagel looked suspicious. For example there was one Cairo-based follower
whose name was Ahmed Ronaldo. His profile consisted almost exclusively of
pictures of Cristiano Ronaldo and he liked 3,000 pages. Cellan-Jones also observed that his new throng
of fans was particularly disengaged, just as you’d imagine those from a click-farm would
be. But he hadn’t hired a click-farm, he had paid for Facebook ads. This story was reported in July 2012. In August,
Facebook reported it had identified and deleted 83 million fake accounts (that was 9% of the
total at the time). This resulted in noticeable drops for popular singers and celebrities. So did they delete all of the fake likes?
Nope, not even close. I know because most of the likes on my Facebook page are not genuine. In May 2012, I received a number of emails
from Facebook offering me $50 worth of free promotion of my page, which at the time had
only 2,000 likes. My YouTube channel had twenty times that following
so I thought surely this free ‘paid’ promotion could help me reach more of the people who
mattered to me. And immediately I could see results. Within just a few days my likes had
tripled, and they kept on growing, thousands per day. And after a few months I had about 70,000
Facebook likes, which matched my YouTube subscribers at the time. Now what was weird was my posts
on Facebook didn’t seem to be getting any more engagement than when I had 2,000. If
anything, they were getting less engagement. I didn’t understand why at the time, but I
have since realized it’s because most of those likes I was gaining through Facebook ads were
not from people who were genuinely interested in Veritasium. How do I know? Well because
fake likes behave very differently from real followers. Have a look at this graph of the engagement
of my Facebook followers. Here I’m plotting countries as bubbles, so this is Canada and
the size represents the number of likes I’ve received from that country. So this is the
United States, it’s a nice big bubble. Now I’m ranking these countries on the horizontal
axis based on what percentage of those likes have engaged with my page this month. So as
you can see roughly 30% Canadians and Americans have engaged with my page, but they’re not
as active as the Germans where over 40% of my likes have engaged, and they are not as
active as the Austrians a small but passionate group of Veritasium fans at nearly 60% These are all of the other Western countries.
So you can see that it’s common for between 25% and 35% of my page likes to engage with
my page every month. Now here is Egypt, where less than 1% of my
likes have engaged with my page. Now this is India, the Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh,
Indonesia, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. That’s a big followings, but no engagement.
Together all of these countries make up 80,000 likes, that’s roughly 75% of the total likes
I had before the last video. And these are the profiles that followed me when I used
Facebook advertising. And they are worse than useless. Here’s why: When you make a post, Facebook distributes
it to a small fraction of the people who like your page just to gauge their reaction.
If they engage with it by liking, commenting, and sharing then Facebook distributes the
post to more of your likes and even their friends.
Now if you somehow accumulate fake likes, Facebook’s initial distribution goes out to
fewer real fans, and therefore it receives less engagement, and so consequently you reach
a smaller number of people. That’s how a rising number of fans can result in a drop in engagement. And from this Facebook makes money twice over
— once to help you acquire new fans, and then again when you try to reach them. I mean
your organic reach may be so restricted by the lack of engagement, that your only option
is to pay to promote the post. What’s worse, there is no way to delete fake
likes in bulk — all you can do is target posts around them. And I should re-iterate I never bought fake
likes. I used Facebook’s legitimate advertising, but the results are as if I had paid for fake
likes from a clickfarm. Now you might think the solution to all this
is just to exclude countries with click-farms from your ad campaigns. But unfortunately
the problem goes much deeper. Meet Virtual Cat, a virtual pet like none
other. Its page is committed to supplying only the
worst, most annoying drivel you can imagine. Only an idiot would like this page. And that’s
not just my opinion, that’s actually what it says in the page description. And I should know because I wrote it. I created
this page yesterday and I then paid $10 to advertise the page through Facebook targeted
only to cat-lovers in the United States, Canada, Australia and the UK. Now I expected that
because I had excluded all of the big click-farm countries and because the page is so terrible
that I basically wouldn’t get any likes. But within 20 minutes I had blown through my whole
budget and I got 39 likes. So who are these people liking a blank page and costing me
25 cents a piece? All of the profiles were all from the places
I had targeted, mostly the US, but there was something strange about them. All of these
people liked a LOT of things, like hundreds and thousands things. And a lot of the things they liked were odd
too. Like in one account this person liked T-mobile, AT&T and Verizon. They liked Jeep
and Lexus and Mercedes and Volvo and Volkswagon. They like everything. Other accounts I saw,
they liked kitchen scrubbers and they liked mouthwash. Who reports that on their Facebook
page? It just baffles me. So the real mystery to me is why someone,
somewhere would click on ads they didn’t care about without making money from them. I mean
I don’t think these likes came from bots – they are too easy to identify and eliminate. And
I also don’t think for a second Facebook would pay click-farms to click on those ads to generate
revenue for them, so it really seems like a mystery. And then, in this article I found what I think
is the most reasonable hypothesis. Click-farms click the ads for free. In order
to avoid detection by Facebook’s fraud algorithms, they like pages other than the ones they’ve
been paid for to seem more genuine. I mean you can imagine 1000 likes on a particular
page coming from one geographic area in a short period of time would seem suspicious.
But buried in a torrent of other ‘like’ activity? They would be impossible to identify. So workers at these click-farms will literally
click anything. I mean where do you think Facebook’s Security page is most popular?
Dhaka, Bangladesh. What about Google? Dhaka. What about soccer star David Beckham? It’s
actually Cairo, but you take my point. So wherever you’re targeting, advertising
your page on Facebook is a waste of money. I wish Facebook would remove the fake likes
from my page and all the others. But that would mean admitting that they have generated
significant ad revenue from clicks that weren’t genuine, which then suppressed the reach of
pages who had low engagement, forcing those pages to pay again to reach inauthentic fans.
So the truth is Facebook benefits by maintaining this status quo because the reality is nobody
likes this many things.

100 thoughts on “Facebook Fraud”

  1. So I don't disagree with the general argument here…but I think "nobody likes this many things" isn't nearly as strong of an argument as you seem to. I don't actually like half of the stuff Facebook says I do. Between bugs, scams, and just bad UI decisions, it can be pretty easy to accumulate a large number of unintentional likes. It's not generally a problem so I don't think most people are ever going to go through and clean these up either…

  2. Deleted Facebook 4 yrs ago .
    I must say that's the best decision of my life…
    you must say WHY?

    Here it is ,
    while being on the Facebook my mind was constantly occupied and i was only thinking about how to find more & more followers and friends by any means . I was constantly in search of different methods which is not benefiting me and I realized it is waste of time , if the same time I spend it on something productive I could do something better with my so i Quit and it totally liberated me and my mind …

  3. People are stupid, and they will keep following and registering their
    personal information with these evil companies. They know it and they
    play on it. No users no Facebook. Mark is a Sheppard leading a huge
    herd of stupid sheeple .

  4. The simpsons nelson style : " haha "
    You people are slow in catching up with these things, FB was crap in the beginning.
    Is that mean you not that smart after all

  5. I administer several FB pages, one page in particular with a business partner. I worked on it for several years and we got into the hundreds of subscribers or fans or whatever they are. I saw the advertisements for buying more views, but I saw no reason to do that because I see no way of converting views or likes into dollars. In all those years that I've administered pages, I've never made so much as a penny from them. So, I told my business partner that I'm not going to continue actively working on the page. I guess he is doing stuff, because the page reach is in the thousands, now, and I keep getting messages all the time about people engaging or accepting my invitation (that I had no involvement in them). I'm wondering how much money he's spent on that page? For him, it might make some sense, because he also shoots movies for commercial projects and this page that has absolutely no relevance to his subject matter is a way of advertising his movie-making. I don't know that he's making any money, though.

  6. It would be great if you could use your Facebook account to vote for contents you approve of and vote down things you don't. It is a bit like voting. But the fact that these likes can be farmed makes it pretty useless, just like rigging elections. Any would be Facebook competitor could potentially make use of this aspect of the internet. I think YouTube is possibly Facebook's biggest competitor in this market. Unless there are fake accounts that farm comments and likes on YouTube as well. There probably is.

  7. dude I am a proud Indian and I can genuinely claim that I subscribed your channel just a few days ago and I am a die hard fan of ur channel…(though I had discovered ur channel in 2018 but thought u were a waste of time😂😂😂😂)

  8. Ayy bro been here since 2014. A REAL fan from Dhaka, Bangladesh. (Also facebook is crap, idk why it's still popular in 2019)

  9. I rarely/never comment, but I regularly watch your videos. does that mean I get counted as fake just because I am from India?

  10. Here is another real fan from Bangladesh 🙂 . But I admit that a lot of people in my country do this kind of fake facebook account business.

  11. Most people just watch and scroll. Unless something really interesting caught their attention, they wouldn't engage.
    I mean That's what I do. I find it completely normal that most followers don't engage.
    TBH, if I had read the cat post you made. I wouldn't have commented either.
    I have a facebook page for my restaurant, I think their advertisement works just fine. When I promote my page or posts on the page, I notice an increase in sales a couple of days after.

  12. This is enough to finally motivate me to completely remove my business page (and personal account) from Facebook. Thank you for this report!

  13. A real like from Europe, but I do not subscribe or follow anything. In 2008 I quit all idiocy of FB and never bothered again. When you 'need' FB your life must be quite miserable: it's not only a waste of money but a waste of time as well. I read real books.

  14. Actually it may not be a fraud. It might be a mistake.
    The likers are bot (facebook failed to identify them as bot). And it algorithm make it seem like they are doing a fraud. Facebook basically did what's the best for business. The best for business might not be the best for social

  15. Not for the video, but questions we’d like to know:

    Can robots think like humans?
    Is or will time travel be possible? What about time paradoxes?
    Should robots, if thought to think, have rights?

  16. I normally like your content but Facebook ads are very profitable you just don't know what you're doing or how the algorithm works in this case. It's a bit complicated but it makes sense why you're getting these low quality like and it's likely because you set up your ad to optimize for cheapest cost per page like hence the low quality results. I can make money from Facebook, it just takes some time to learn it. This right here is a huge misconception about it

  17. Happened me, it sad to think I pumped money into something worthless that I could have used in different ways for my novel.

  18. Weeeeeelllll…. l’m from the Philippines and I AM A REAL LIKER AND FOLLOWER AND LOVER OF VERITASIUM.

    😆

  19. It's very interesting because I paid 100s of dollars on Facebook to promote a product. Got likes but not any customers. I knew then it was all fake. I believe the same thing goes to Google ads as well.

  20. add this to the coming anti-trust investigations and resultant regulations.
    its not long now, we will kill facebook one way or another

  21. I quit facebook a year ago….i have deleted my account…..and when my mom using facebook , what i saw is a bs app….filled with many videos and pages she dint even like…..facebook is dad of google now in showing u ads

  22. Good analysis, however, consider this, does faxebbokwants engage people who bring more dollar revenue to them, and thus actually binding it to more profitable small set of users

  23. My fb fake Account is still running 😉😉
    And Sir in India people often use app liker or dj liker like any apps but they don't know that what are they going to pay for this
    I mean hiddenly these apps post porn link in comment section

  24. This video is awesome, I like it when people post direct truths like this. 95% of people have no idea about these things that affect them. I deactivated my Facebook ~2 years ago.

  25. Facebook has most of their income from ads, and if ~90% of ads are fraud, then what is the true value of the company if everyone would know the truth ?!

  26. How does a business account get disabled in less then 24 hours? Because, they don't know if I am real…? I didn't like anything and only joined local swap and shop pages. To what, promote my small business…?

  27. come start delete FB profile campaign and start a new social media page that is reliable….

  28. Even though I'm not Egyptian, I can say with certainty, because I'm also not American, that "Muhammad Ronaldo" is a very real profile. You don't know how much we love football and by extension, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Messi everywhere outside the US. If FIFA decided Islam was vile and outdated, the Middle-East would become atheist overnight.

  29. I watched and liked this video 5 years ago, and now when youtube recommended this video for me again, which is weird, why reommend something I have allready seen. I also noticed that my old thumb up like was gone. Now I have clicked the Like button again. Stay tuned for my next check up in 2025, maybe my like is gone again then. I have been accused of being a russian bot lately, but this is not the case.

  30. Funny that this was made in 2014, and you say they had eradicated 83 mil accounts; this is the same number Facebook touts as having removed most recently in 2018. I think they’re even lying about their activity to remove this fraud.

  31. I have Nokia 8.1 phones ,Their head office is in Finland and they do not have factory installed F**Kpage.
    Australia is in the process of demanding the F**Kbook and google provide access to users to their see what they are doing with the data.
    zuckerberg is now considered the most dangerous man in the world

  32. Veritasium, how would you even filter out countries if people just register their accounts to different countries? They could use a cheap VPN if necessary, but shouldn't be.

  33. you think they pay people to click likes why the hell would they do that when they can just run a bot to do it for free

  34. Big surprise, big coorp will ban every way others can make money out of them, then use the exact same ways to make money out of me and you.
    Not even a new thing even back in 2014

  35. Pues por eso mismo eliminé mi página en Facebook y mi cuenta también. Llegué a pagar por anuncios que no tuvieron ningún efecto positivo en mi página. Soy de Colombia y soy un verdadero fan de Veritasium.

  36. This is one of another super facebook scam

    also one Question :
    How to be anonymous in the era of facebook and other social networks? just curious
    #Veritasium Thanks for the knowledge, also I am from India huge fan.

  37. I have Facebook and I liked your official page and I don’t use Facebook at all only once a month Facebook is a dump I use Twitter feels like human

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