David Fischer, Facebook’s VP of Advertising and Global Operations was evasive about how the company is dealing with black hat social media marketing on the site – the setting up of fake profiles being used for fans, and “like farming“, in comparison with Google, which has been trying to address black-hat Search Engine Optimisation, and also rolled out updates to its search algorithm to address content farms. In response to a question from MediaNama, after his talk at AdTech India, Fischer said that the the company has teams that actively seeks out such activity, suggested that there is little benefit in setting up fake profiles because one can set it up, but none of the users actual friends are going to respond to the friend requests. He added that it’s a pretty high cost for someone, when they build a fake profile and all those likes, and then it gets removed.
That doesn’t address the issue that marketers are being sold “likes” and “fans”, often fake, and there are instances where likes and fans are being bought and sold by social media marketing agencies. Whether there is any benefit in that or not, because the marketer doesn’t get any return on that investment in fake fans, and this leads to a loss of faith in the medium. It’s not beneficial for marketers, and not beneficial for Facebook, and the company should be concerned. Fischer did not talk about how Facebook deals with “like farming”. Secondly, he forgets that he is speaking in India, which is probably the global leader in CAPTChA spam, and hiring people to build fake profiles and like pages is not expensive. During his talk Fischer shared several examples of brands whose pages and campaigns using the same metrics – brands that have been liked, and received views and fans.
On Rohan Babu suggested on Twitter that Facebook should have a quality score.
There is no doubting Facebooks scale – Fischer mentioned that there are 500 million facebook profiles, in comparison with 90 million active websites; 15 million friend connection and 50 million brand connections each day. He spoke about the integration with brands in India, like Cricinfo, which he said doubled the referral traffic for the site, and the integration with the Times of India* to enable users to share stories, and Pepsi’s Change the Game campaign during the World Cup, saying that the campaign received . Yesterday, during a panel discussion with publishers, they had voted in favor of Facebook over Twitter – Indiatimes* CEO Rishi Khiani had said that twitter has more random followers, but Facebook sends them more referral traffic, and referenced the integration of Gaana.com with Facebook, allowing people to favorite their choice of music, which brings referral traffic. Conde Nast India’s Maya Hari also said that Facebook lends itself better to visuals than Twitter.
*Disclosure: Indiatimes is an advertiser with Medianama