Links in private messages increase 'Likes', admits Facebook

The Next Web's Emil Protalinski states that a video on Hacker News by depicts that sending a link to a user’s private message increased the Like count by a number or two on the link’s origin site. This may mean that the social networking giant is peering into private user messages, looking for shared links to web pages with Like buttons, in a bid to increase the number of Likes on those pages. 


Among other things revealed, on spotting a link to a page with a Like counter, Facebook ended up increasing it by two. Reportedly, Facebook commented on the issue with, “We did recently find a bug with our social plugins where at times the count for the Share or Like goes up by two, and we are working on fix to solve the issue now. To be clear, this only affects social plugins off of Facebook and is not related to Facebook Page likes. This bug does not impact the user experience with messages or what appears on their timelines.”

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Checking your private messages



Facebook’s take on the issue does rake up a new doubt. As pointed out by Protalinski, although Facebook admits the gap, it raises the question whether the glitch is with the illegitimate increase in the number of Likes or the number of Likes itself. Surprisingly, a Facebook spokesperson added that the glitch was that the Likes went up by two. What this implies now is that Facebook is peering into your private messages and is having likes increased as a result. 


Facebook clarifies that private information has not been exposed, and it does not automatically Like any Facebook Pages on behalf of the user. “Many websites that use Facebook’s ‘Like’, ‘Recommend’, or ‘Share’ buttons also carry a counter next to them. This counter reflects the number of times people have clicked those buttons and also the number of times people have shared that page’s link on Facebook. When the count is increased via shares over private messages, no user information is exchanged, and privacy settings of content are unaffected. Links shared through messages do not affect the Like count on Facebook Pages”. 


In a detailed explanation to the The Next Web, Facebook stated that it does scan private messages to parse the URLs in them to check if they rendered properly, and also to check for spam. 


The social networking giant is now officially a billion users strong. There are now one billion active monthly users on Facebook, and the California-based company has stated in its fact sheet that it arrived at this milestone last month on September 14 at 12:45 p.m., Pacific Time. 


Facebook has presented some of its key metrics in its fact sheet. Facebook has registered over 1.13 trillion Likes, and made 140.3 billion friend connections. A whopping 219 billion photos have been uploaded on Facebook since its launch. The data for calculating this number was extracted on September 10, 2012 and takes into consideration the total number of photos that are on the site currently. It does not factor in deleted or removed photos. If it did, the estimates would go up considerably to 265 billion photos uploaded on Facebook ever. 


Since the introduction of geo-tagging on Facebook in August 2010, 17 billion location-tagged posts have been made, including check-ins. The statistics for this feature were considered from its launch date to September 10, this year.

Published Date: Oct 05, 2012 01:20 pm | Updated Date: Oct 05, 2012 01:20 pm