Influencers stop using fake likes and fake followers following warning issued by ACM
Influencers and businesses have stopped using fake likes and fake followers. In late 2021, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) confronted six influencers that bought fake likes on a large scale with their practices. These six influencers have since stopped using fake likes and fake followers. They are active in various industries such as fashion, lifestyle, fitness, food, and art. In addition, ACM in early 2022 pointed out to tens of thousands of buyers of fake likes and fake followers that they mislead consumers with such practices. Businesses or influencers that still use fake likes or fake followers risk fines for misleading consumers.
Cateautje Hijmans van den Berg, Member of the Board of ACM, explains: “Consumers must be able to rely on the information they see online. Businesses and influencers that sell or promote products are not allowed to use fake likes or fake followers to make their social media profile seem trustworthy or popular. If fake likes and fake followers are used deliberately, consumers will be misled. We have now also warned buyers of fake likes and fake followers on a large scale. We hope that they realize that ‘pimping’ their profiles with fake likes and fake followers is not allowed.”
What is going on?
Businesses sell fake likes or fake followers online for platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Google. These likes and followers are fake because they are not the actual experiences of people. Businesses and influencers use such fake likes and fake followers to manipulate how others see them or their business, product, or service. As a result, consumers are misled about the quality or popularity of a business, a person, or a product or service.
Is the use of fake likes and fake followers prohibited?
Yes, when offering or recommending products or services, businesses and influencers cannot use fake likes and fake followers. ACM recommends: do not buy any new fake followers, fake reviews, or fake likes. Do you still use fake likes or fake followers? Delete them or have them deleted. Fake likes or fake followers for personal, non-commercial use are not considered misleading practices. However, in most cases, the rules of the platform will have been violated. ACM strongly discourages brushing up personal profile pages using fake likes and fake followers.
Has ACM confronted providers of fake likes and fake followers?
ACM has also confronted providers of fake likes and fake followers with their ‘products’. They have agreed to stop selling fake likes and fake followers to businesses and influencers. In many cases, these providers have also forwarded ACM’s warning to their buyers.
The rules regarding online promotion
The digital economy is an important topic for ACM. In its guidelines on the ‘Protection of the online consumer’, ACM has explained at what point persuasion turns into deception. The guidelines also explain that the use of fake likes, fake reviews, and fake followers is not allowed.
How do you recognize if something is fake?
On its consumer information portal ACM ConsuWijzer, ACM offers tips on how to recognize fake reviews, fake likes, and fake followers. In addition, ACM welcomes reports of consumers about their experiences with online deception as a result of fake likes, fake followers, and fake reviews. ACM will use this information in its investigations into violations.