How to Determine if a Facebook Business Page has Fake Fans

fake facebook likes Many of us have recently thought social media and business leaders were finally starting to “get” the importance of real relationships with human beings. However, unfortunately there seems to be a new wave of cheaters, influence score addicted self proclaimed “gurus” that are willing to risk their reputation, integrity, ethics, trust, clients and relationships for a few hundred or tens of thousands fake Facebook fans.

The worst part is these are the same people who are tweeting and preaching the importance of authenticity, relationships, and how to build and be a human social brand.

A few of them are even trusted by some of the world's most respected brands. It is the definition of failure and a sign of true insecurity in my humble opinion. More of my thoughts on this topic will come in a separate post as this one is specifically written to help you identify if a Facebook page is loaded with real fans or is being gamed by an influence, short fix craving cheater.

It's pretty easy to check if a Twitter account has fake follwers. You can go to Status People Fake Follower checker and get instant statistics on any Twitter account, including yours. Below is a quick screen capture of the results from Status People for a Twitter account. The account is that of a CEO for popular Twitter measurement tool. On the company website they tout the success of their CEO in building community and that he/she has over 100k Twitter followers. Well, according to Status People, they are fake as fake can get. This lost instant credibility for me and is likely not a tool I will recommend nor take into the accounts and business of our clients. Quite unfortunate.

Note: If you have a large Twitter following, Status people only analyzes a portion of them. The statistics are not perfect.

fake twitter follower checker


So how do you determine if a Facebook page has fake fans? While not quite as simple, you can still put multiple data elements together to make a pretty good judgement call on the authenticity of their proclaimed community.

In late 2012, Facebook started to crack down on Fake fans and accounts. Many business pages lost a good portion of their fans if in fact they were fake. Facebook claimed that 8.7% of accounts were at that time fake or undesirable.

Too good to be true? Yes, it sure is! 

Have you ever looked at a Facebook page of someone who recently launched a blog or business? You check out their Facebook page and find that they have tens of thousands of fans in just a short time.

At first you may think to yourself, wow, this person must really know how to rock social media and build community.

However, as you dig deeper and do the double click you see that the engagement is nonexistent, even if they have thousands of fans. You click on some of the “likes” they have received on recent posts and it's obvious they are from a country foreign to them. It's also obvious the likes are from fake accounts.

The social trust factor you had when first clicking on their page is pretty much out the door. You do the double click around their page, blog stats and realize they are bogus, cheaters, and buying their fans, period.

The chance that you are going to trust them to help your business is now becoming slim to none. If they're willing to cheat at something as simple as a Facebook fan, what else will they game for themselves or a buck to make from you and your business?

These cheaters think they can game the system. They hope that you will not do the double click on what's behind the black curtain. They hope you will just see the high number of Facebook fans and that you will have instant trust for them. They hope that you will now opt in to their email list and comment on their posts.  If they are really successful at fooling you, you might even share the content or their page with your friends and colleagues.

Building a community takes time and investment. Purchasing fake fans is cheating, unethical and wrong. Oh and by the way, it's also in direct violation with Facebook terms and conditions.

The best and only way to see real success in social business and life is by investing in people. By this I am referring to real people, real relationships with human beings, not robots!  I am not referring to fake accounts, fake followers or gamed strategies.

fake fake social media communityA lie has speed, but truth has endurance. ~Edgar J. Mohn 

3 Ways to Identify if a Facebook Page has Fake Fans

1. Verify source city / location and age of their fans.  With this step you are checking if it is possible their Facebook likes are coming from a foreign country for which they have purchased fans. This can be done via paid services through agencies who offer such.

a. Click on the number of likes on the page via the big box underneath the Facebook page cover photo. You may need to click the arrow to show the box if they have ordered the number of likes to be shown lower in the list.

determine facebook fakes

b. Assess the results.

Next you will then see a page which highlights the following information:

  • Most popular week.
  • Most popular city.
  • Most popular age group.

Is the popular city their city or a city they do business in? Or is it a far away country? Do they do business in that country? Do they have a large following in that country? Or is it a foreign country which they do not do business in, do not have a valid following from and likely purchased fans?

What is the most popular age of the fans? Are they 18-24 yr olds? Are they 35-44 years of age or older? Or a different age category? Does the age match their target demographic? Does it make sense this age group would be so engaged with their content and services?

orlando social media consultant facebook insights

2. How many people are talking about them on Facebook? If they have 35,000 fans/likes but only 50 are talking about them, well you have a red flag. Are they posting content daily? If yes, either a.) they suck at engaging their fans or b.) their fans are not real so they can't engage.

Below I posted a couple examples from Facebook pages. The first is from my own personal business page. The second is from a page that could potentially  have fake likes. Note that my page with only 25% of the fans of the other page has more people talking about it. A proof point that it is not about having a large number of fans if they are fake or not engaging with you and your content.

facebook talking insights


facebook talking statistic fake


3. Who is “liking” their daily posts and content. 

This one is super easy to check. Just do a quick scan of the content they are posting. How many likes are they getting? Is there an equal distribution of likes? Or are there tons of likes on one day and zero engagement on other posts. Yes, it could be the posts were more engaging or they just rocked Facebook edge rank that day. However, you should be able to see any trends as you scroll the page.

Click on the number of likes link under any post that seems to have a substantial number of likes. It will then take you to a page where you can see the profiles of the likes. Click on a few of them. Are they real accounts? Or are they fake? Do they appear to be from a same foreign country for which their most popular city is in the Facebook insights? If yes, you have another red flag and they may be paying for those likes.

4. When Did Their Fans Become Fans? 

On most pages you can see the monthly activity within the timeline. Did they jump from 1,000 fans to 20,000 fans in one month? If yes, they may have had a very successful campaign, became an overnight success online and offline. This is all possible. However, if the data analysis above shows red flags and they show an unrealistic jump in the first few months of launching a page or in any given single month, the chances they are fakers just increased.

The Whole is Greater Than The Pieces

You can't really assess if an account has fake fans from only one data element. It's important to give people and brands the benefit of the doubt. Look at several data elements. If all four of the above data elements don't look right you may have a faker on your hands. It's up to you what you want to do from this point and if you trust them with your customers, data and business success.

Be Human! 

Remember relationships happen between real people, between two human beings. Real communities are made up of real people, not robots. Robots do not read, engage, get inspired, laugh, contribute or own a credit card. Building a brand, business or community based upon fake numbers is unethical and in the long run will get you no where.

Invest in real content that helps your audience, employees, customers, partners and greater community solve problems.  Inspire them to do better, be better. Focus on their goals and objectives.  You can never go wrong by investing in people, period. Investment in robots will get you quick gains that are fake. They will not help build your business for the long term.

What You Say? 

What are your thoughts when you come across a business page who has fake followers? What happens to the trust you had for the organization? Do you think it shows a sign of integrity, good ethics? Would you trust the business? What if you trusted them and really liked them before finding this out? Will it make you think differently of them?

I'll be writing up a few more posts on this topic to get to the heart of the matter, digging into why people decide to cheat when in reality it's buying them nothing but robots.

Please comment below and let's help make a difference in the social ecosystem. Let's encourage people to come clean on this behavior, to stop faking it and trying to fake us out. We should ask, expect and demand more. It is a silent elephant in the room that needs to be pushed out, period.


Talk Human to Me Series

brand humanizationThis blog post is part of a series titled “Talk Human to Me“. It includes a deep look at brand humanization and the power of the human brand.

Subscribe to the series for updates and access to special videos, webinar training, worksheets and more. Would love to hear your input and have you participate in discussions and debates as we challenge each other to be more human from the inside out within our lives and business.

Additional Resources: 



About the Author:

CEO / Founder Marketing Nutz, full service social media, digital marketing, experiential brand, conversion optimization agency. Ranked by Forbes as Top 10 Social Media Women and 10 Social Media Power Influencer. Keynote speaker, author, strategist, consultant, coach, & trainer. Helps businesses of all sizes integrate social media into the DNA of their business, connect with target audiences to nurture authentic customer relationships. 15+ years experience working with Fortune 500, Franchised corporations with 4000+ local franchises to entrepreneurs and startups.


  1. Dave Thompson March 11, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Great Post, Pam!
    Facebook itself has admitted that a major chunk of their users is fake. Fake users just add numbers to the page, they are of no use other than that. Fake users never engage with the brand page, and engagement is what social media is all about. All I can say is one can get fake users for numbers if that is all what one wants.

    • PamMktgNut March 11, 2013 at 11:32 am

      Very true @Dave Thompson. It is sad but obvious that some of the folks and brands doing such are purely interested in numbers and/or are insecure about starting out with a low number. It’s stupid in my opinion and their communities will think much higher of them if they are humble and build their following in an ethical way.

      • Guest November 18, 2013 at 10:52 am

        I’m confused. If you promote a page or post (which isn’t itself unethical), you often end up with fake followers, which is unethical? What if I don’t want any of these fake followers? How do I get rid of them? My page has lots of followers that are real, but I got stuck with fake followers too due to a poorly executed promotion. I never intended to get fake followers and certainly didn’t want to pay for any of them. Now I don’t know how to get rid of them. Facebook doesn’t make it easy to control these things. Meanwhile, other people will think I’m unethical because of this difficulty?

  2. Teri March 11, 2013 at 11:27 am

    If I have never bought a fan, how can the twitter fake finder say I have 3% fake fans?

    • PamMktgNut March 11, 2013 at 11:31 am

      Could be various reasons. I wouldn’t stress about it too much. 3% isn’t bad. It could be you have robots following you from tweeting key words such as iphone, apple, android etc. There are many companies who setup fake robot style accounts and follow people. They hope you will follow them, click on their links etc.

      A good way to get rid of them sometimes is to unfollow all dead accounts you are following. It is called Twitter pruning where you clean up your Twitter friends. Often times when you unfollow the fake accounts that somehow got into your follow stream they will automatically unfollow you.

      Hope this helps.

  3. Martha Giffen March 11, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    I think the “talking about” is such a key to what’s going on with the page. I have never really taken the time to investigate by clicking on the “likes” tab because I feel like the “talking about” tells the story. As far as Twitter fakers, I check my own account periodically. Many times, the checkers shows fakers on my account (certainly not a high level) and I go in and unfollow anybody who hasn’t engaged. That cleans them out. For me, those are just bots. Anyway, nice post!

    • PamMktgNut March 12, 2013 at 2:11 pm

      Agree @twitter-13768662:disqus . The “talking about” metric is a real-time metric and gauge to how engaging the content, brand and page are.

  4. Caryn Talty March 11, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    Our Facebook page has recently gotten a couple of fans that were fake. I always click on new likes to learn more about fans and interact with them. We don’t solicit for likes or fans. We’ve never paid to get them. I think sometimes spammers seek out pages to plant links/ads to products and engage with legitimate fans. It’s happened to us on more than one occasion. When I visit the person’s Facebook page I can clearly see that they opened it in the last two weeks and have no friends. So sometimes this happens to legitimate pages who don’t buy fans, but on a much smaller scale.

    • PamMktgNut March 12, 2013 at 2:12 pm

      Very true @facebook-100000119736354:disqus and we have seen the same thing. It is close to impossible to avoid. However, there is a big difference between a few fakes vs 20k fakes that were purchased. 😉

  5. Gavin Hudson March 12, 2013 at 2:59 am

    I completely agree about being human and iterating to find content that your audience likes best. However, it’s not cheating to advertise your Facebook business page to people in the target demographic of your company.

    • PamMktgNut March 12, 2013 at 2:10 pm

      Agree @gavinhudson:disqus . This article is not referring to advertising but to purchasing fake followers.

  6. Linda Bernstein March 12, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Hi Pam. I don’t like Status People’s algorithm. Every time you do it, you get a different number. They go into your followers at random and look at 200 and get their numbers from there. There are other, better ways to see if a person/page has been buying followers.

    • Danny Brown March 13, 2013 at 2:21 pm

      in fairness, they measure up to 1,000 followers, dependent on account:

      They admit that for accounts with more than 50,000 followers, it should just be used as a reference point.

      Either way, I think they do a decent job of showing the potential fake usage for the majority of Twitter users.

      • PamMktgNut March 14, 2013 at 3:09 pm

        Yes I agree @dannybrown:disqus . It’s identifying “potential” fakes.

    • PamMktgNut March 14, 2013 at 3:08 pm

      Yes I agree @wordwhacker:disqus . It’s only one data element in many. However, you can get a good feel with a few tests. If you get the results I showed above after a few searches it’s at minimum worth a double click 😉 A quick visual look you can see tons of eggs & obvious bot style accounts following.

      • Linda Bernstein March 14, 2013 at 3:30 pm

        Yes, you and @dannybrown:disqus are correct that if someone comes up with a lot of fakers, that’s a sign of trouble. It used to be easier to check someone out because Twitter Counter was free, so you could look for the strange spikes of 10,000 new followers in a single day. Now Twitter Counter allows you to see only 3 months of someone’s account for free.

        What I don’t like about this tool is that you never get the same number twice. So it’s not “proof,” but it is an indicator, as you have said.

        I think that you did a great job, @PamMktgNut:disqus, explaining how to identify the fakers on FB pages. Really, targeting teenage boys . . . what a giveaway.

        But, you know, we all know who the fakers are. You can tell by the way they self promote, the way they say it’s about “their community,” when it’s really all about them.

  7. Gary Hyman March 13, 2013 at 8:35 am

    First of all great post Pam. I personally believe karma will take care of the fakers. I don’t have an emotion either way. If they want to play the cheat game they will be found out sooner or later (probably sooner) and will get bitten in the but. Most fakers I don’t trust, but some just don’t understand the ‘rules’ and just need a little coaching. Very subjective thing in this case though.

    • PamMktgNut March 14, 2013 at 2:52 pm

      True @twitter-224701457:disqus . There is a big difference between the ppl that know better & those that don’t. It seems the Facebook ads are bringing some unwanted fake looking accounts to some pages though. However, many need to take more time when setting up Facebook ads to ensure they are targeting appropriately. At least some of the issue can be avoided.

  8. […] Moore talked of well-known “community leaders” being as fake as Hollywood boobs (that last part may have been my […]

  9. Danny Brown March 13, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    Ha, this is such a great topic, Pam. The amount of fakes in social media never fails to astound me – especially when they’re the very folks talking about transparency and engagement, as you say.

    I wrote a post the other day about Reach being a BS metric, and used the example of a Twitter power user.

    In the image attached to my comment), I used Status People to check the stats of this user, who has over 217,000 followers.

    I think the results speak for themselves. 😉

    We can but hope that these fakes are a glitch in the system as social media matures, and the real work can get done by the rest.

    • PamMktgNut March 14, 2013 at 2:50 pm

      So true @dannybrown:disqus . I love your words “glitch in the system”. It is true and I think over time the cheaters will have to quit cheating as they can no longer cheat in private. Eventually (and i think it is very soon) it will catch up to them.

  10. […] Reading: Interested in learning how to determine if a Facebook fan page has fake fans? Read Pam Moore’s excellent post on the subject. She also reveals tools that can help you determine if you have robots or people […]

  11. Skyline EmpireSkyline Empire March 14, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    […] Moore talked of well-known “community leaders” being as fake as Hollywood boobs (that last part may have been my […]

  12. Robert Roche March 22, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    The sites that sell the fake likes also put fake likes on legit pages. A few months ago I got over 100 new likes in one day. On a good day I get 1 or 2. Turns out that they were all from Egypt. I own a gym in NY. Cairo Egypt was the number 2 most popular city only behind the city my gym is in. Since most of these new likes were named Mohammed – first or last name – it was pretty easy to delete most of them. A little research revealed that the fake like people put likes on legit sites to make it harder for Facebook to find them out.

    • Kate Hutchinson December 12, 2013 at 9:40 am

      I’ve had that experience. I’ll get a message after a few likes are added, letting me know that they have Liked my page and if I want to spend $X, I can get X more.

  13. Chymera April 27, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    My facebook page has seen a massive increase in likes in the last 3 days. They are obviously fake profiles, I’ve clicked into a bunch of them and they all have similar posts and patterns of likes. Thing is, I have never and never would purchase likes.. so why is my page being targeted? It has happened to two of my colleagues as well. What is the possible benefit of this for the fake profiles?

  14. Peggy Goodwin May 18, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    My daughter has a fan page on Facebook. Within the last couple weeks and mostly the last few days her likes have gone up to 27,000 and still going up (she previously had about 800). We would never buy fans and are very puzzled by this. Reading your article it mentions the number of people talking about it. With 27,000 new likes she has 13,478 people talking about it. She is getting comments and likes within her page (and private messages) BUT they are all practically from Indonesia, Brazil, the Middle East, South America etc. They are also in her age demographic (13-17). Her video views have gone up because I check that on youtube. She also has a Youtube account (with over 1 million legitimate views over the years). It seems legit on one hand but suspicious on the other because of the different countries. Can you shed some light on this? This is very strange.

  15. SEO Services India May 20, 2013 at 4:46 am

    I was pretty much amazed to check when one of my friends fan page were having hundreds of likes but when i crossed checked the profiles they were deleted or missing. Why there is no action taken on such steps. There should be some sort of verification needs to include while clicking like for any fan page.

  16. Tracy & Tom Hazzard June 3, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Thanks for the info. We have been struggling with a Kickstarter campaign that is not getting enough circulation. Others have been suggesting buying more Facebook fans to boost visibility. If they’re not real, it will be a waste of money!

  17. […] fake or at least just shell accounts. Maybe you can find a tip here for discovering fake fans,…has-fake-fans/ Best, Shawn Reply With […]

  18. […] Pam’s article is here. […]

  19. Williamsearch October 2, 2013 at 8:05 am

    Very nice post. It is very interesting and knowledgefull post. Good work author.

  20. MK November 18, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    The problem with this is that it is very easy to get stuck with tons of fake followers (particularly if you don’t initially know how to run an effective promotion and if you make a few mistakes as a newbie). And Facebook’s current policies make it practically impossible to remove fake followers or ban them. Indeed, Facebook only lets you view a limited number of your fans. I have lots of real fans, but also a bunch of fake fans that I’d like to dump. But there is no way to even identify them, much less a way to remove them. And now I’m accused of cheating and being unethical too? Ack!

  21. Kate Hutchinson December 12, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Very interesting post. I came to my current role with a page that had about 250K likes, most of which had been acquired by ad spending. At the time, I questioned whether those likes were worth having, and was told it was “just a number to look good on paper.” Since August, fans have been dropping like flies–a recent post I found here–posits that Facebook may be doing another purge of suspicious accounts, as they did in late 2012. I have a loyal core of fans that engage with my page, but I fear that fake accounts are impacting the visibility of my posts, and hampering my ability to encourage new people to Like my page.

  22. […] Moore talked of well-known “community leaders” being as fake as Hollywood boobs (that last part may have been my […]

  23. Clipping Path July 2, 2014 at 5:16 am

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  24. Dragonfly August 7, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    The problem is that most fake likes come from paid Facebook page promotions. I’ve found out when I paid to Facebook for my page to be promoted and started getting 60 likes per day, I became curious of who was liking the page and found that most of those people liked 1000s of other pages and had nothing personal on their timelines at all. So who to blame? I stopped promoting my page and started promoting posts, it doesn’t give me that many page likes but I do get views and engagement which is what I need for my brand recognition.

  25. Guest August 15, 2014 at 3:59 am

    unfortunately there are many tools out there that fool the visitor in thinking that likes are genuine. Take for example this website: –

    Clearly when you refresh the website the likes increment substantially, therefore it can only be a fake since the website has not been officially launched

  26. Aaron October 30, 2014 at 4:38 am

    Pam, are you serious? I’ve just spent 10 minutes reading a post about how you despise people who have bought fake likes yet, when I clicked onto your twitter account, I see that you have 224k followers with around 3 retweets per tweet!

    What a hypocrite. I have 9k and I have a bigger engagement than you! Another social media “guru” who can’t square away her own profiles but tries to make money from advising others. Disgusting.

    • PamMktgNut October 30, 2014 at 7:35 am

      Aaron you are crazy. Why don’t you post your real name and link to your blog and then maybe we will listen to you. Removing your comment as a troll.
      Pam Moore
      CEO / Founder
      Marketing Nutz

    • Awah M. June 7, 2017 at 1:27 pm

      Aaron, I don’t think she has fake followers or likes. It’s just that social media is really really dominated by algorithms and getting proper engagement from your social media accounts really isn’t that easy!

  27. […] How to Determine if a Facebook Business Page has Fake … – Great Post, Pam! Facebook itself has admitted that a major chunk of their users is fake. Fake users just add numbers to the page, they are of no use other than that…. […]

  28. Ainsley Adolf January 5, 2015 at 5:30 am

    Very interesting & useful article Pam Moore. I was unaware about this technique but now I will try to use this technique. Thank You

    Ainsley Adolf
    Social Media Expert
    Team Follow Promo

  29. thomas February 5, 2015 at 4:23 am

    really so good to visit this site, the blog has helped me a lot in my thesis,
    before I was quite worried to clear my concepts, thanks

    buy facebook likes

  30. John_Westra October 13, 2015 at 12:42 am

    I wish there was a tool that allowed you to copy and paste the link to a post with a stat like this: ”

    609 people like this.” and automatically find out which of those ‘Likes’ were from questionable accounts!

  31. Awah M. June 7, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    Hi Pam, I love your content and have been reading around your website! Keep up the great work!

    I would like to disagree with you on a few things.

    A page growing fast when it just launched is not an indicator of having fake fans. Nor is its engagement. And the same also applies for The people talking about it.

    Here is why:

    I own a Facebook business page that has over 68,000 likes. I also had my first 10k likes in the first week. I grew them all using Facebook Ads and spent thousands of dollars on that page.

    However, if you were to audit my page, I am sure you will think it only has fake followers.
    I have 68k fans, reach is less than 100 people, engagement maximum is 2 likes, and people talking about it is 13! Also most of my page likes are from tier 3 countries (Bangladesh, India, etc.)

    I know its insane. My engagement always requires me to boost my posts and with a page as big as mine, I usually need to keep my engagement high to not make it look like a page of fake followers.

    What is your comment on this? I really would like to know if you have any idea on why this might be the case and if you have any tips!

  32. Awah M. June 7, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    WOW! It’s really interesting seeing others having the same problem as me on Facebook and Facebook Ads!

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