Charity Engine, a U.K. cloud computing startup that donates a portion of its revenues to non-profit causes, has called Facebook a "scam" that is "allowing click-fraud on a massive scale" and has vowed not to use the social network any more.
The company has had a longtime beef with Facebook over the way the social network allows — or doesn't allow — a company with an official Facebook Page to talk to its followers and fans.
Facebook uses an algorithm known as Edgerank, which restricts any given Page post so that only about 15 percent of a Page's fans actually get to see it. Only if the post gets a high level of engagement from fans will all followers see it; otherwise Facebook requires that Page owners pay to promote posts. The intention is to reduce boring spam posts from companies and to force companies to only post material that is genuinely interesting to users.
Charity Engine CEO Mark McAndrew told BI recently that Facebook prevented the company, through messages or posts, from informing its followers that it was officially launching with a $20,000 prize for one of its users. He also told Read Write Social that he declined to pay a $4,500 promoted post fee that would have allowed him to reach most of his fans. Essentially, his complaint is that Facebook encouraged his company to build a fanbase on Facebook and then changed its rules in the latter half of 2012 in such a way that it prevented him from reaching his own fans unless he paid to do so.
A source at Facebook defended the company's policy to RWS:
If a brand is continually putting up low-quality content that no one is engaging with, that content is going to be optimized out of the Newsfeed.
Just to let you know: we won't be using Facebook any more.
Facebook is allowing click-fraud on a massive scale, letting millions of fake profiles join millions of fan pages and charging those page owners for every fake click of their FB adverts.
They won't let pages contact or even view their own fans (really!), so nobody knows how many fakes they really have - except Facebook, and they're not telling. They won't allow an independent audit of their advert system either. It's a huge scam.
You can follow us at our website www.charityengine.com or on Google+ (link below).
The "click-fraud" allegation is new. As evidence, McAndrew sent us a sample of his most recent Facebook fans, which he claims are "riddled with blatant fakes - some are less than a day old and yet they've already liked hundreds, even thousands of random pages."
Facebook has had an historic problem with fake users and fake "likes." There are persistent reports of fake likes coming from the accounts of deceased friends. The system has had flaws in it in the past that have inflated the number of likes on a page.
Facebook declined comment. Here's Charity Engine's post:
Disclosure: The author owns Facebook stock.
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