Many businesses are buying Facebook “likes” from third parties in order to appear bigger in the eyes of potential customers. The likes are given from fake or hacked accounts.
Facebook posted on its security blog about their efforts to fight this ever growing phenomenon. Facebook “recently increased their automated efforts to remove [fake] Likes” that are often seen on business pages. The news was cleverly released at the end of the week so that it doesn’t get read by many people. Facebook’s advertising system might need to be rebuilt. Currently it relies on the idea that we as consumers want to build closer relationships with various advertisers. But if businesses find ways to cheat the liking system then we are not safe.
A social network’s power comes from the fact that real people use the network and in turn real people advertise on the network. If bots come in and disrupt this equilibrium then existing real businesses are likely to quit advertising and real Facebook users are likely to stop using the network.