Facebook cracks down on fake 'Likes' during poll season

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Facebook cracks down on fake 'Likes' during poll season
With several politicians thought to be boosting their social media presence in the poll season using fake online followers, Facebook has started cracking down on fraudulent accounts showing suspicious high number of 'likes'.

Data from the Facebook team shows that close to 52,000 pages exist for politicians and political parties in India. Of them 60 are verified pages.

"We're always focused on maintaining the integrity of our site, but we've placed an increased focus on abuse from fake accounts recently," a Facebook spokesperson said in an emailed response.

The social networking site, which has around 93 million monthly active users in India alone, has built up a combination of automated and manual systems to block accounts used for fraudulent purposes and 'Likes'.

Company officials say action is being taken against sellers of fake clicks and are helping to shut them down.

With the growing power of social media, politicians across parties have taken to the digital medium to interact with the youth through Facebook and Twitter this election season.

It is suspected that many 'Likes' and 'followers' on these platforms are from fake account holders.

Among the pages for politicians on Facebook, BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is a clear winner with a massive 1.2 crore 'Likes' followed by Arvind Kejriwal 48 lakh, Mamata Banerjee 670,000 and Akhikesh Yadav 475,000.

Notably, last week, opposition parties and users protested the FIR filed over an anti-Modi Facebook post. The Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party and the Communist Party of India (CPI-M) called the complaint as an act of muzzling opposition against the BJP and Modi.

However, complainant Atul Pai Kane, a businessman and former chairman of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in Goa, has defended his decision to slap the first information report (FIR) on Devu Chodankar.

"The BJP is scared that we are winning both seats, that's why they are scared and trying to intimidate their opponents," Congress spokesperson Durgadas Kamat said.

Written with inputs from IANS and PTI

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