It’s quite the industry. Facebook’s fake it until you make it. Tens of thousands of bogus likes for a nominal fee. The social media giant would rather you pay them for ‘real’ likes, and then give you a fraction of the organic reach after you pay up. Capitalism baby.

Facebook is warning users that it will get their businesses nowhere using the industry of fake like companies. The company announced on Friday that it had obtained legal awards of nearly $2 billion against fraudulent activity. Now collecting that $2 billion is a different story, but it makes them sound scary.

The idea is to show users of the sites that buying the ‘fake likes’ is a bad idea. Everyone does it. Politicians, corporations and even the U.S. State Department got caught in a fake like buying scandal. Everyone wants to be Facebook famous.

Facebook’s site integrity engineer Matt Jones outlined the site’s ability to combat the fake like phenomenon. “We write rules and use machine learning to catch suspicious behavior that sticks out. When we catch fraudulent activity, we work to counter and prevent it, including blocking accounts and removing fake likes all at once.”

“As our tools have become more sophisticated, we’ve contributed some of our spam-fighting technology to the academic community as well, in hopes of helping other companies combat similar problems.”

As for the stick approach, the company is not afraid to take the spammer to court. The company maintains it is a way to remind potential offenders that they will fight back against any abuses. It also servers to scare away potential customers, and that would make Matt’s job a bit easier.

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Facebook is employing algorithms to detect when there is a suspicious spike in likes. Basically, if all the sudden you have a spike of likes for your bakery that originates in third-world countries, you have a problem. One, you get what you pay for. Two, you will have those likes stripped, and your reach will get dinged even further.

Jones finished off the tough love blog post by reminding Facebook users it’s about protecting the platform. “It’s important to remember that fraudulent activity is bad for everyone — including page owners, advertisers, Facebook and people on our platform.”

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