Millions of Facebook page ‘likes’ removed

Brenden Wood
Feb 29 · 3 min read

During the final week of February 2020 millions of Facebook ‘likes’ linked to public profile pages were removed by Facebook.

Facebook made no public announcement about the ‘like’ purge — it’s possible the removal of the ‘likes’ could be linked to a mass-deletion of fake Facebook profiles.

The largest news publisher on Facebook, BBC News, lost 68,000 ‘likes’ across February 24th and February 25th 2020 — Less than .01% of their page ‘likes’.

Facebook data showing the page ‘likes’ on the BBC News Facebook page
BBC News Facebook page — 22–29 February 2020

The NASA Facebook page lost 13,400 ‘likes’ across these same two days.

NASA Facebook page data — 22–29 February 2020 — Source: Crowdtangle

The Russia Today Facebook page lost 15,300 page ‘likes’ — A loss of about .13% across the two days that the ‘likes’ were removed.

RT Facebook page data — 22–29 February 2020

Each day the New York Times Facebook page increases by about an extra 1,000 ‘likes’. Across the two days of the of the ‘like’ purge they decreased their ‘likes’ by 7,900 — but, they actually may have lost slightly more than that when you consider that they normally have a lot of people liking their page each day.

Facebook data showing the page ‘likes’ on the New York Times Facebook page

In a strange twist, the Coca Cola Facebook page has lost 340,000 ‘likes’ across the month of February 2020. On February 19th 2020 they lost 192,000 ‘likes’ — but, the next day they had 137,000 people ‘like’ their page. Is this abnormal activity for a soft drink brand? Across the same period, Pepsi lost 68,000 ‘likes — but their page has less than half the ‘like’ number of the Coca Cola page.

Facebook data showing the page ‘likes’ on the Coca Cola Facebook page

Well known European broadcaster France 24 lost 20,900 ‘likes across the two days of the Facebook purge.

Facebook data showing the page ‘likes’ on the France 24 Facebook page — February 2020

Losing ‘likes’ from a Facebook page during a fake-account purge is nothing to be alarmed about. It’s highly likely that the pages that were removed were not interacting with any content on any Facebook page. Facebook admins should not be focusing on their ‘likes’, instead they should be watching their engagement rate numbers — if they begin to fall, then you need to change tactics. For example, the CNN Facebook page lost 26,000 ‘likes’ during the two day purge, but their engagement rate remained the same.

Interactions on the CNN Facebook page — Dec 2019-Feb 2020 — Source: Crowdtangle

Brenden Wood

Written by

Social Media - 7NEWS Australia

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