How closely do you guard your Facebook account? Are you a habitual ‘liker’, or do you only hand out that kind of trophy to a select few sites, brands and groups? Whatever end of the spectrum you sit on, you might want to double check there’s nothing in your ‘Likes’ that looks out of place – Facebook’s been accused of letting brands scoop up erroneous admiration.
Whilst the social network has denied that there’s anything untoward afoot, the Financial Times reports that a multitude of Facebook users have found themselves likers of things they have no inclination to like.
So what’s causing the issue? Mobile. Since Facebook’s added a smattering of ads to the mobile app, the number of accidental likes has reportedly shot up. That’s thanks to your stubby fingers accidentally liking when swiping.
On top of that, there’s evidence of brands on Facebook disguising Likes as ads or links to other content. “It can fool the user into clicking on things when they thought they were just browsing for something,” says Google’s former head of click fraud Shuman Ghosemajumder.
Ghosemajumder adds that “there have been instances of brands being pretty aggressive about wanting to increase the number of Likes on their pages,” by hiding Like buttons under other content.
Why is this a problem? Because the people complaining have suddenly found themselves endorsing products online. Among the marketing options embedded in Facebook’s new ad structure is the ability to suggest that Mr X is recommending products to Mr Y if Mr X has initially Liked them.
Either way, it might be time to trawl through and check you’re not an accidental ambassador of something embarrassing.