Facebook had its cover blown by a video blogger after an experiment that was run by Derek Muller looked at the social media website’s advertisement pages. Muller suspected that clicking agencies in Egypt, India, Pakistan, the Philippines as well as other countries were benefiting from Facebook by adding fake likes to companies Facebook pages. Muller created a page about cats to see where the likes were coming from.
Muller believes that people roam the site to click every Like button they see, which lowers the value of a Like and makes it harder for page administrators to see real viewers. He also said that administrators who are giving Facebook their money to promote a page might end up damaging their brand. Muller also believes that these click farms cover their tracks by clicking on innocent pages as well. The innocent page clicks makes it harder for Facebook to track down the users associated with the click farms. He created a page called Virtual Cat and paid $10 to advertise the page. The page was targeted to cat lovers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. He thought he excluded the click farms countries but was wrong after his page got 39 likes. These likes were mostly from the countries he included, especially the United States.
Muller reported his findings from the Facebook advertisement experiment that was run by him, a video blogger, in a video title Facebook Fraud. The video showed that the people who liked his page seemed to like hundred of thousands of strange things. One user liked Jeep, Mercedes, Lexus, Volvo and Volkswagen. Another user liked kitchen scrubbers and mouthwash. He then wanted to find out why people clicked ads they did not care about. He did not believe Facebook paid click farms to click ads or bought likes. He found in an article that explained that click farms click ads for free and felt that this was the most reasonable hypothesis. He said that users like pages they were not paid to like so they became less noticeable.
The idea, Muller said, came from a 2012 report by Rory Cellan-Jones, a BBC technology correspondent, who learned that advertisers were saying that they were having low return rates from their campaigns on the Facebook ad platform. Cellan-Jones decided to investigate the value of Facebook likes by creating a mock Facebook page called VirtualBagel. Cellan-Jones invested $60 on promoting his page. He found that most of his page likes came from Indonesia, Egypt and the Philippines. He then changed his target group to the United Kingdom, which caused his likes to drop. Facebook explained to BBC that some ad campaigns are set as scatter gun advertising, which meant that the page was not targeted to a specific group.
A Facebook experiment that studied the site’s advertisement pages was run by Derek Muller, a video blogger. He created a fake page called Virtual Cats to see where most likes came from. His results showed that most of the likes came from the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. He also found that his users did not like typical pages. Some users liked kitchen scrubbers while others liked four different cars companies. Even though these users were liking his page, they were not commenting or sharing his page. This lack of engagement led him to be suspicious of the number of likes his page got. Muller believes Facebook does not want to take off the fake likes because then they would have to admit that a large amount of money from ads came from fake users.
By Jordan Bonte