Tech Talk: Facebook Is Reusing Your Likes On Posts You Have Never Seen

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January 24, 2013 ‐ By Ann Brown
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Do you remember all the pages that you have “liked” on Facebook? Well, the social network does and they are recycling your “likes” and using them to promote “Related Posts” in the news feeds of your friends. Strange as it may sound, you may have never seen the story, “liked” the story or even know that it is being promoted in your name, reports Forbes.

The story broke when Minneapolis developer Craig Condon accused Facebook of “impersonating people without their consent.”

And if Facebook does this to you, you might never know as posts made by Facebook on your behalf are “completely invisible to you, and only show up in your friends’ and family’s news feed,” Condon told Forbes. For it’s part, Facebook is clearly labeling the “liked” content as “related,” but to most Facebook users, these posts look normal.

“It’s hard not to see this as intentionally manipulative and misleading on Facebook’s part,” says Forbes. Facebook has already been in hot water over its use of Sponsored Stories and the social media network made a preliminary $20 million settlement.

But there is more, writes the magazine. “A story from ReadWrite by Bernard Meisler documents a boatload of cases where friends had supposedly liked brands that the writer couldn’t imagine them ever liking. Some of these friends were no longer even alive!,” reports the magazine. And yet another reporter, Jim Edwards of  Business Insider, wrote  about how Facebook generates “likes” in ways other than a user clicking a Like button. It seems that Facebook also adds likes any time a user messages a link to a “likable” page. “This automation in combination with fake bot accounts that can pump out these messages effectively create a method through which Likes can be bought. And even if your message that accompanies a link contains negative sentiment, Facebook still counts it as a Like,” explains Forbes.

Facebook puts the onus on its users. A spokesman told Forbes that the likes are the result of liking activity and possibly “those people ‘liked’ something by accident, by inadvertently pressing a button, perhaps on the mobile app.”

One way to possibly monitor this is to ask your friends to track your likes and report them back to you. It’s a bit labor intensive, but if you want to avoid ties to something you’re opposed to, it could be worth it.

Have your friends asked you about your strange Facebook “like” activity?

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  • http://www.lorrikey.com/ Lorri M. Key

    Makes perfect sense! I had this exact same experience.