Bots in the Walled Garden!

Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 10.09.01 AMI’ve been getting a spike in “likes” every week for my Facebook business page over the last 4-6 months. They’re all clearly bot likes, as they appear to come from India, where I do no business nor have friends or family. Further, the page doesn’t have anything on it. It’s just a placeholder. But a bot wouldn’t know that.

My suspicion is that the bots are increasingly infiltrating Facebook. As Facebook has to grow revenue, they can do it in three basic ways:

  1. Increase number of users
  2. Increase number of ad inventory units
  3. Increase value of ad inventory units

They can’t really take the second approach, as there’s a limit to how many ads we’ll accept in between humblebrags and cat videos. They’ve been pushing video of all kinds, where the advertising CPMs are higher, so the third approach will work until the pages are filled with auto-playing videos.

Oops, that’s been killed in OS X, at least.

So go to option #1. I’m not saying that Facebook is creating the fake accounts. However, I suspect they’re doing the old “turn and cough” when it comes down to looking at the new accounts that are being created.

Think you can’t create bots that will get through social media registration systems? Think again.  Here’s a whole community of people who create them. And the best bot creators aren’t even there–they’re on the dark web, or exchanging information face-to-face somewhere in a cafe in St. Petersburg.

Takeaway: Check the accounts of those that like and follow you on social media. Ask the question: “could this be a bot?” Be skeptical. And win.

P.S. Here’s my like spike over the last few months on Facebook

Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 9.54.35 AM

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