Have you seen a Facebook Page with a huge number of fans even though they are a small business and you wonder how that happened? Or maybe you are doing an audit on a Page and are digging into their fanbase a little deeper. You want to know if they have fake fans on the Facebook Page.
There can be a lot of pressure to show “social proof” and get a lot of Likes on Facebook Pages. But now with the decreased Reach on Facebook Pages, maybe no one cares WHAT you do with your Facebook Page anymore 🙂
I still think that fake fans aren’t good for a Page for a few reasons:
- If you are retargeting your Facebook Fans in ads (which is a good thing to do) you are not advertising to the right people.
- People can see that you have fake fans and your credibility may suffer.
- Your organic reach to the true fans you have may suffer because Facebook sees little interaction on your Page.
What are Fake Facebook Fans?
First of all, what does a Fake Fan even mean? Typically, fake profile accounts are in overseas countries like Nigeria, Indonesia, and Bangladesh.
People have created a business “selling” Fans to people but also, business owners can get cheap fake fans by advertising for Facebook Likes in those countries. This inflates the size of the Facebook Page so they think it looks better.
I do realize that there are lots of “real” profiles in the countries I mentioned but these countries do seem to have more than their fair share of “fake” profiles.
FB Like Check to Spot Fake Fans
At the time of this writing FB Like Check is a working tool – although I’ve seen it have periods of not working. Access it here: http://www.fblikecheck.com/
Add the web address of the Page and the 3 digit code to prove you aren’t a robot and you can see what countries the fans are from.
Then you will see the breakdown of fans from each country for the Facebook Page.
The biggest flag is if the business is primarily focused in one country and the majority of the fans are from other countries. There can be exceptions to this but that is concern.
There are other tools that can give you this type of data as well but this is a quick, easy, and free tool.
Watch the Facebook Page Engagement
If a tool isn’t available, another way to watch for Fake Fans is to look at the type of engagement the Page gets. Is it all from other countries or seemingly “robotic” messages?
That can be an indication, but again, not always a perfect correlation.
How to Remove Fake Fans from Your Facebook Page
Unfortunately the process to “clean up” your Facebook Page is tedious and time consuming. So this may be a reason some Pages don’t do it.
You need to manually scroll to the time frame when you may have added the fake profiles. Typically a Page owner knows that during a certain time, they advertised to the countries that had more fake profiles or maybe they actually “purchased” some fake profiles during a time frame.
To remove fake fans from your Facebook Page:
- Click Settings on your Page.
- Select People and Other Pages from the left side.
- Scroll to the Facebook profiles you want to remove and check the box next to their name (you can select several at a time).
- Click the wheel just above the list of names of People who Like this Page (right side next to Search box).
- Select Remove from Page Likes. You can also Ban people from the dropdown menu but that’s not typically necessary for fake profiles.
This is a very manual and time-consuming process and I would suggest doing it in small batches (or hiring someone to do it for you) if you have a lot. You may have to scroll all the way back up to the top to select the wheel and remove people.
Another thing that happens if you select too many is that you can “lose your work” so small batches is better.
The other thing is that it can be hard to really tell a “fake profile” from a real one because the fake profile creators have gotten better. But here are a few things I have noticed about fake profiles:
- They have very few photos or posts (but these can be hidden).
- They like hundreds and hundreds of Pages.
- They have very few friends and interactions (again, these can be hidden).
It’s not always crystal clear and I would ere on the side of not removing a profile rather than removing it if there is a doubt.
So hope that helps you decide if your competition is “faking it” with their fans. Overall, I don’t think it matters that much but I do think it matters if a company brags about how may fans they have when they all are fake!
How about you, have you see this happening out there? What do you think when you see that a Facebook Page has inflated numbers? Share your thoughts in the comments below.