Fake Facebook Fans Now Causing Problems for Artists Who Didn't Buy Them

We know that some bands buy fake fans, but now it seems that other innocent bands are being affected - and some are saying it's time to quit Facebook altogether.

Ultimate Guitar

Fake Facebook followers are starting to affect bands that didn't even buy them in the first place, according to some artists who have been affected.

We've reported on bands buying fake online fans in the past, but until now it wasn't clear that this would ever affect other bands.

This is how it works. It starts with some bands cheating by buying fake followers, which in turn means there are some creepy online businessmen who create thousands of fake accounts to sell on to bands and businesses alike. But to make these fake accounts look real, they need to go and hit "like" on a bunch of other band pages too.

The problem is, those other innocent bands are now being caught out by a side-effect of the Facebook sharing algorithms which decide how many people see your posts online.

When you share a post on your band's Facebook fan page, it doesn't actually go to every fan you have. Analysts say it will only go to a percentage of them, to act as an incentive to pay for advertising to reach the rest of them - and if your band page has been followed by a bunch of fake accounts, whether you want them or not, it means your message is going to even fewer people.

The other effect is that bands who do choose to pay for advertising are being punished by having to pay higher prices, because Facebook's advertising rates go up when you have a higher follower count.

Will Facebook crack down on these fake accounts? On one hand, the bad press they get from it is one incentive - but on the other, it means they can generate more advertising money, so they probably won't be in a rush to fix it. Just like Google has been slow to filter illegal download links from its search results, despite criticism from the music business and UK government.

In this video, Petey Graves from the band Red Seas Fire talks about the problem in detail (via Hypebot):

If you're in a band which is working to build a presence online, maybe it's time to start planning a move away from Facebook towards building your own homepage and building your own mailing list. With Facebook, there's a risk that your own fan base will be effectively held hostage while you have to pay more and more to send your message to them.

If you want to build your own website and mailing list, a good place to start is with Tumblr as a simple homepage and blog, and MailChimp to start collecting email addresses. That way, you can be sure people will get your message - and that means more chances to sell your music and make a career for yourself.

17 comments sorted by best / new / date

    This just in . . Facebook updates it's slogan "Facebook is free, and always will be . . . . but unless you pay us it is completely useless"
    Its a bit sad, No its Really sad. You could go to the effort of paying someone to do this or you could use that money to actually get the band exposed thus having real fans
    Goddamnit! How about businessmen try not being dbs for one day?
    Facebook closing is more possible
    i deleted my FB account almost 2 years ago now and realized only 6 of those 290 FB friends were true friends who put their effort to go and knock on my door and say "fck man, i thought you were dead!" i'm done playing "add fake-friends" and i don't know what the **** is happening on facebook anymore xD. Looks like it's getting shittier. LOL and... i have a guitar. This comment is relevant now.
    This is why I delete all the people once a month that either dosent interest me or I stopped talking to. keeps the number way below 100. sadly I need facebook for political and apartment purposes.
    I always thought Twitter was a more popular social networking site to use amongst bands and individual members anyway. Sure you only have 180 characters a tweet but providing links to your band's blog posts in your tweets (for those who can't yet get around to setting up a professional website) couldn't hurt...
    Pablo Mortis
    I love that you get the opportunity at the bottom of this article to like it ON FACEBOOK!!!
    Facebook was definitely a helpful idea for new bands, recently I've started to hate them a lot because they're essentially going to destroy themselves over profit. They keep charging prices for things that you never should have to pay for. It is still useful, I use it mainly for updates by bands or just big news in general, but hopefully something better than Facebook comes a long and what happens to MySpace happens to these greedy vultures.
    No UG, you seem to have fallen for a hoax. Facebook does not decrease the number of people seeing your updates as an incentive to market the update. This is how facebook's algorithm always has worked, ever since the start. The market option gives one an opportunity to bypass the usual sorting, but it does not punish you for not paying.
    Sorry but I have been forced to make a comment due to the following sentence. "Just like Google has been slow to filter illegal download links from its search results, despite criticism from the music business and UK government." A) Google has complied to the best of their HUMAN abilities. Every demand they have attempted to meet as timely as they could. B) It can take a very long time to recode a major algorythm with a database of several billion and QA test it. C) Such a recode would cause MAJOR problems as they would need to ALGORITHMICALLY determine if a site uses ILLEGAL torrents. Since torrents themselves are legal this is almost impossible without a sub database of illegal sites which users could flag... D) Such a system itself pirates would use in vengance for the former act. E) Do not keep complaining about google not complying WHEN CLEARLY THEY DID AND STILL ARE. Jeez... I needed to rant that out. I watched this unfold when it happened. Industry demands google remove all illegal sites from existence, They do their best to resolve a way and inplenet a change that reduces their appearance. This was then complained at by industry for not doing enough and they demand more OR they will sue google for some reason. Continuing to try and help they go one step further but ARE forced to revert for unknown reasons, my assumption being a MAJOR flaw with the algorythm that would have essentially killed them. They continue to work on it but making an incredibly fine and complex program takes a long time. Stop ragging on google...