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How To Tell If A Facebook Page Has Fake Likes

UPDATE 4/11/16: Facebook’s Open Graph capabilities change all the time. As of this update, everything in this blog post still works. Comment at the bottom if you notice otherwise.

It’s not easy to be good at social media marketing. There’s a lot of strategy and research that goes into utilizing a business’ social media channels correctly and effectively. That being said, what is easy is the mindset that you should have with social media marketing.

Follow these general rules, and you’re better off then most business’ on social media.

  1. Be genuine
  2. Be a good listener
  3. Be interesting
  4. Be relevant

For the purpose of this post, Rule #1 is key. When you’re buying fake fans on social media, you’re tricking your customers into thinking you’re more popular than you are.

Wait, wait, wait a second. Why is it so bad to buy fake fans?

In reality, it’s not THAT bad to have fake fans. Most people won’t know, and there is some value to having a higher number of social media followers (within reason). How much value? We’d argue very few people are making purchase decisions based on your fan count alone. We’d also argue that the damage from someone suspecting you bought fake fans outweighs any benefits.

Here’s why we stay away from buying fake fans

  • It’s dishonest
  • You run the risk of being penalized in the future
  • Really, what’s the point? Focus!

I could touch on each bulletpoint, but I think the last one sums them all up nicely. What’s the point of buying fake fans? Really, there’s only one point of doing it– tricking customers into thinking you’re artificially popular.

The only reason for Facebook Likes

The ONLY people you should want liking your page are people who are LEGITMATELY  interested in what you do

Now let’s break down these people who are “legitmately interested in what you do” even further. These people will be:

  • Family & friends
  • Current customers
  • Leads (from email or phone numbers)
  • People who visited your website at some point
  • People interested in your topic (geo-targeted, if applicable)

How to tell a Facebook Page has fake likes

Now to the reason you probably clicked on this post in the first place… you want to find out if your competition bought fake likes. It’s actually pretty easy once you know where to click.

Step 1: Initial Suspicions

You see a Facebook Page in an “uninteresting” industry with maybe an artificially high number of Facebook fans. It’s quite possible they’re all legit, but it’s worth investigating.

Note: we’re keeping the screenshots anonymous because we don’t want to embarrass anyone’s business. If you can tell what Page this is, please keep it to yourself.  

Facebook fake likes

Another sign that should peak your suspicion is a high number of likes with a little to no engagement on the Facebook posts. For instance, here are the stats on this particular Page’s last 5 Facebook posts:

  • Post #1: 0 likes, 0 comments, 0 shares
  • Post #2: 0 likes, 0 comments, 0 shares
  • Post #3: 0 likes, 0 comments, 0 shares
  • Post #4: 0 likes, 0 comments, 0 shares
  • Post #5: 0 likes, 0 comments, 0 shares


We almost don’t need to go any further at this point, but we’ll push on.

Step 2: Click the Likes number

Most people don’t ever click on the Likes number of a Page. By clicking here, you’re given a few superficial stats on a Page’s Likes: rise in Likes, people talking about the Page, most engaged city, most engaged age group.


After you click, you’ll see the People section of the Page. If there are a significant number of fake fans, a couple things will pop out to you:

  • Low number of “People Talking About This”
  • Huge % increase in Page Likes from the previous week

Step 3: Facebook Open Graph Search

At this point, we think we know the answer, but we want to be sure. Now is the time we start utilizing one of Facebook’s most underutilized features, located on the top of the Facebook page: Facebook Open Graph Search

With this search, we’ll be able to uncover more insights on the audience of this Facebook Page. Here is how you do it.

Pages liked by people who like [Insert Page’s Name]


Countries of people who like [Insert Page Name]


Languages of people who like [Insert Page Name]


Favorite movies of people who like [Insert Page Name]


Ok, now I think it’s safe to assume….

This Page Is F-A-K-E!

Do what you want this info. We choose not to call anyone out. If you’ve bought fake fans in the past, it’s not the worst thing in the world. If you’ve thought about it, I hope this post makes you think twice about it.

And don’t forget to: Like us on Facebook

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