Let's call Facebook what it really is

Fakebook? Facebots? Either way, Facebook needs to address its 83 million fake accounts -- many linked to click fraud -- before its reputation slides further

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That post generated a lot more attention than the LR guys expected. The story got covered by the New York Times, Wired, SlashGear, and several other news sites. It also got Facebook's attention in a big way. After the hubbub, the Limited Run crew decided to delete that blog post, but a cached copy was still available at blog time.

Facebook claims to be flummoxed about who's doing all that clicking on its behalf, and most of the bots seem to be based overseas. Given that botmasters aren't known for their pro bono work on behalf of multi-billion-dollar corporations, I suspect some rogue Facebook employee is behind this, probably in some location far far away from Palo Alto. The question is, how motivated is Facebook to find this person?

There is a thriving business in fake Facebook accounts, and it's been going for some time. To be fair, there's an equally thriving business in fake Twitter accounts, G+ profiles, YouTube clicks, and the like. On the InterWebs, nobody knows you're a dog. Facebook has gradually been trying to shut these down -- the site YouLikeHits.com, for example, was ordered by Facebook's legal eagles to stop selling Likes back in June. That's a very small drop in a rather large bucket.

If Facebook wants its business model to survive, it needs to clean up its act in a hurry, before the big advertising fish start bailing. That, or rescind its IPO and go private again, where the fakes and frauds are easier to hide.

What other alternative names might apply to Facebook? Post your real thoughts below or email me: cringe@infoworld.com.

This article, "Let's call Facebook what it really is," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

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