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Facebook Tries To Make Buying Followers Illegal

Influencers On Notice As Facebook Gets Legal With Fakers

Wannabe Instagram and Facebook influencers who have scammed their follower counts are now on notice… winter is coming.

Facebook has just filed a lawsuit in the US against four companies and three people for promoting the sale of fake accounts, likes and followers.

The lawsuit specifically asks the court to prevent these people and entities from:

  1. Creating and promoting the sale of fake accounts, likes, and followers on Facebook and Instagram
  2. Infringing on its trademarks on its websites
  3. Using Facebook-branded domain names to operate their websites (i.e. cyber squatting)

One can only imagine this should be an opening sortie in a much larger scam crackdown.

There are vendors based in the US, Canada, Australia, UK, NZ and pretty much everywhere else, offering these services.

Take for example the gang over at buymorefans.com.au:

‘We are 100% Australian owned and operated since 2007. Unlike many of our overseas competitors, we provide an honest and reliable service and professional after-sale support up to Australian standards.’

While it lacks the Australian Made logo, it does have a nice picture of the Aussie flag. What’s not to like?

In a curious plot-twist, all of the entities targeted in this latest lawsuit are based in China which seems an odd place to bring the ruckus.

A country where western intellectual property lawsuits generally go to die. Plus, a market where Facebook isn’t really present and holds limited sway.

Unlike in the Republic of Ireland, per se, where Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg was alleged over the weekend to have leant on Irish leader Enda Kelly to try and ‘influence European Data Directive decisions’ when in its EU presidency.

Influencer Marketing Gain and Pain

Facebook’s move against fake social media activity is one to be welcomed.

Although to be fair, the cool kids at buymorefans.com.au have been operating apparently since 2007, so maybe it’s a bit overdue?

Buying social media followers has always been a dumb thing to do. For brands anyway.

While social vanity metrics get pumped up momentarily, as follower counts leap, when the brand actually starts posting in Facebook/Instagram the new fake followers don’t react to the posts, depressing organic reach for the legitimate followers. Creating a net loss.

The same is true of wannabe ‘influencers’. However, the benefit dodgy influencers have is that few brands and agencies actually do sufficient due diligence.

Meaning they can be a dental receptionist by day and gorge themselves on free hampers and face-scrub by night. All courtesy of negligent marketers who are rushing to get campaigns out the door.

Legitimate influencer marketing can be highly effective and creates win/win dynamics all around.

We recently worked with a smart team at Hoozu, who are innovating in the influencer space, creating data-driven client campaigns which move the needle for brands like Hello Fresh. However, outside of a small number of innovators like these, influencer marketing is rotten to the core and needs reforming. 

Facebook’s latest move follows a purge on fake accounts last year, on Instagram, alongside changes to disclosure with Branded Content Tags and the soft launch the Facebook Brand Collab Platform.

All major platforms are following suit, to varying extents, which will hopefully clean up the image and improve the effectiveness of influencer marketing in 2019.

 

 

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