Facebook admits that ‘likes’ are not all they seem to be

Posted on October 15, 2012


For many businesses with a social media presence, Facebook ‘likes’ are seen as an important indicator of a business’s popularity. However, new research has found that ‘likes’ on Facebook are not as reliable as first thought, with several actions causing the ‘like’ total of a page to go up.

Following the findings of researcher Ashkan Soltani, Facebook has confirmed the factors involved in creating a total of ‘likes’ for a page. As well as direct ‘likes’ of a website, Facebook counts shares of the website’s address via private messages, and comments left on Facebook about the website. Shares of a web address on a user’s news feed will also count as a ‘like’.

In some cases, two ‘likes’ were even being added at once. Facebook has said that this was due to a glitch which is being resolved.

‘Likes’ have become big business in recent years, with many commercial websites including a Facebook button for visitors to click to support the business. This development could potentially damage the credibility of having a large number of ‘likes’, as it means that ‘likes’ can be created by users simply talking about a page or website – even if they are posting the link for the purpose of complaining about the website.

For many website owners, nothing beats the value of having a well-written site with authentic readers. Articles and news feeds remain hugely popular as ways of attracting people to a website, and this latest development suggests that these methods may prove more reliable in the long term than quick-fix social media features.


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