Some Facebook Fan Pages have suddenly become less popular.
Over the last several days, Facebook has been sweeping its site and eliminating fake accounts in what TechCrunch has cleverly dubbed "Operation Unlike."
The effort to increase security began in August when the company released a statement, which explained that "Likes" on "Pages" not generated from real profiles are a violation to the Facebook Terms of Service.
In order to clear out the illegitimate Likes, we presume that Facebook has been deleting fake profiles en masse. (We've reached out to the company for comment on this and will update when we've heard back.)
"…[L]ess than 1% of Likes on any given Page will be removed, providing they and their affiliates have been abiding by our terms," according to a post on the social network's official blog. And now, some businesses are seeing a sharp drop in followers, as thousands of supposed fans are wiped from Facebook.
Check out these stats for some proof: PageData has categorized Facebook Pages into a list by ranking the "most total likes." Out of the top 30 pages, only four organizations have experienced growth over the last 24-hour period. For example, the third most-liked Page is currently Texas HoldEm Poker, but its numbers have dropped rapidly since September 24. At the time of publication, the poker-loving page had gone from 65,424,913 Likes to 65,225, 082, dropping about 200,000 fans over the last several days.
Other significant pages have decreased in popularity, too. Lady Gaga's fan page lost over 34K, the page for Zynga's FarmVille gaming app lost around 41K and the fan page for Rihanna lost over 28K fans.
This isn't the first time Facebook has dealt with spammers and phony profiles. Earlier this sumer, the company's 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission indicated that 8.7 percent of users could possibly be spam accounts, meaning 83 million fake or duplicate profiles were known to exist. The BBC also reported that bots (or fake users) might be behind some of the clicks advertisements receive on the social networking site, which would give companies a false sense of accuracy in who is viewing their products.
"Facebook was built on the principle of real identity and we want this same authenticity to extend to Pages. We undoubtedly expect that this will be a positive change…" the company blog states.
Have you noticed a decrease in Likes on your favorite Facebook Pages? What do you think about the social network purging accounts? Let us know if you've had any spam experiences in the comments section, or tweet us at [@HuffPostTech]. Then check out the slideshow below of seven things you're accidently telling the world via Facebook.
Remember when you were having that really bad day and blasted Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" 23 times on Spotfiy? Yeah... well, we witnessed that low moment via your Facebook profile's ticker, the real-time mini feed located in the upper right hand corner of Facebook pages. If you don't want to share your (possibly embarrassing) musical preferences with your Facebook friends, make sure to turn off the "Share to Facebook" button (at the top right of your Spotify desktop app).
Some Facebook apps, like Socialcam, are designed to make you click on content by using sleazy, eye-catching headlines. "Socialcam's 'trending' videos read like a bunch of crossovers between the 'American Pie' franchise and 'Jackass,'" The Washington Post wrote in June. If you're a SocialCam user, remember that the spam-like titles of videos you view automatically pop up on your profile, so your friends all might know when you've watched "CraZy ThReeSom!" or "Two Wasted Chicks" last week.
Glancing at a juicy article on how Miley Cyrus flashed some sideboob? While this wouldn't phase some Facebook users, others would prefer not to have anything with the word "sideboob" published on their profiles or in friends' News Feeds. Facebook's social reader apps track the articles you read, and with permission you grant when first downloading the app, then post the stories automatically to your wall. So be wary of those scandalous headlines promising half-naked pictures.
Some people love getting birthday wishes via Facebook. But putting your your full date of birth on any social networking site means strangers are privy to information that can be used to steal your identity. If you want to keep your birthday up online, consider taking the safe route and nix the year.
Friends or apps can now tag your location via Facebook. But maybe you don't want everyone to know you're visiting that neighborhood dive bar for the fourth night this week. "There isn't a specific setting to block people from tagging you in a post that includes a location," Facebook's site reads. This means if you don't want your whereabouts known, you'll have to change your Timeline setting to approve all tags before they're posted, or manually remove the tags once they've been published.
Photo-sharing app Instagram is relatively direct in telling you where your pictures are posted. But you might unknowingly be photo-spamming your friend's Facebook feeds by letting the app re-post every picture you "like" onto Facebook. And things could get a little dicey depending on what types of images you view. Luckily this feature is easy to change. Just go into the settings options on your Instagram app, click the "Share Settings" tab and turn off the setting that shares "Liked" photos to your Facebook timeline.
Tagging or naming younger children on Facebook can be a dangerous move. Similar to putting your full birthday on the interent, you could be offering up too much information and enabling a breach of privacy. "If your child isn't on Facebook and someone includes his or her name in a caption, ask that person to remove the name," Consumer Reports advises.