- Derek Muller, host of the weekly science podcast Veritasium on YouTube, put out a video this week claiming Facebook benefits from fake likes from click farms.
- Muller ran ads on Facebook hoping to increase likes on his page, and the result was a large inpouring of likes from what appeared to be click farms. The engagement on the page failed to increase with the likes.
- In the video, Muller claims that Facebook benefits from fake likes because the false accounts make it harder to reach the right audience and encourage brands to advertise more to reach the right accounts on the platform.
Advertisers are the real losers in this scenario because the money they put into Facebook ads is mostly just resulting in fake likes. The situation makes it harder to reach valuable and engaged users, thus sometimes resulting in advertisers putting more money into additional Facebook ads hoping to reach the right people. Facebook did make a statement saying they don't benefit from fake likes and are constantly working to stop false accounts, but the click farms have made it difficult to identify the fake accounts.
The situation is similar to the problems advertisers and publishers are having with bots and fraudulent traffic elsewhere on the Web. As long as someone is benefiting from the problem, which Facebook seems to be doing in this situation, the problem is unlikely to be solved.