They’re already calling it The Great Facebook Purge.
The suspicions of many are likely to be validated this Thursday, March 12, 2015, when Facebook has announced plans to purge an unknown number of what they are euphemistically calling “inactive” profiles from the like counts of brand pages.
On every Facebook page, owners now see the following (somewhat awkward) message:
We’ve recently updated the way we measure how many people like your Page. Pages may see a decrease in likes after March 12, when we removed likes from inactive Facebook accounts.
To you and me, “inactive” means “fake.” Instagram (also owned by Facebook) had a similar purge in December, leading to widespread declines in follower counts.
It’s a wonderful thing and probably proof of the justice of God As I Understand Him that Justin Bieber was the hardest hit by the Instagram purge. Realistically, though, probably everyone will see a decrease in the number of “likes” on each page. Facebook bots often sign up to legitimate pages in order to camouflage their origins and intentions. For instance, we had an entire clan of fake “Diijhaegs” and “Diijihadis” sign up for the 5 Magazine Facebook page. They never did anything nefarious, but it was a creepy feeling, having an entire family tree of bots targeting you. We banned most as soon as they were noticed. From a look at the banned users, most have been deleted over time but a couple still remain:
Those who bought fake Facebook fans to make their pages look better, of course, will likely see a far more significant drop than the average.
Will The Great Facebook Purge be as dramatic as the Instagram purge? Will those who bought the most fake Facebook fans and will they be the most severely punished? We’ve marked a few pages of curiously… suspicious… accounts ourselves; it’ll be interesting to see how this shakes out.