There’s been a strange epidemic occurring on Facebook lately: metalcore and djent groups’ “likes” have increased dramatically. More specifically, bands like Friend For A Foe and Red Seas Fire (as well as Basick Records’ roster) have seen an enormous increase in “likes” on Facebook, as seen in the image above [taken by Katie Jackson]. This would lead many to believe one of two things: 1.The bands’ fanbases are really growing, or 2. The band/label is paying for fake likes to boost numbers. As it turns out, neither is the case.

While many of these “likes” do indeed come from fake bots, many of the bands affected haven’t paid anything for them. As Heavy Blog Is Heavy points out, the cause of this is likely do to fake accounts “liking” similar or connected bands in an attempt to seem legitimate. So what’s the problem with having more likes on Facebook (that are free, nonetheless)? Well if you recall, thanks to Facebook’s recently implemented policy, a majority of your fans on Facebook can’t actually see your posts unless you pay to “promote” them or if said fan makes sure to activate the “follow” option. That means that the more fake accounts you have “liking” you, the less your actual fans will actually see what you post on Facebook. Furthermore, as Red Seas Fire’s Petey Graves points out in a video of him addressing the issue at hand, the fake “likes” also mislead show promoters booking bands based on their social media outreach (when the show doesn’t draw in a large crowd, it’s the band that looks bad).

As Friend For A Foe point out via a series of Facebook posts, though, there isn’t much bands can do about the situation other than block accounts from the Middle East, South America, and Africa (locations where most of the bots seem to be located). The band further elaborated saying:

“Random theory time: As you know, we aren’t too thrilled by getting all of these likes from fake accounts and watching our numbers go from a legit 7500 to well over 14k ‘fans’ in the period of a few weeks. It skews our metrics and it’s dishonest as hell since they aren’t accurate numbers (Most of these accounts are based out of the Middle East area). My open question (and please share this post) to others who have band accounts that have had the same issue: Have you at any point paid Facebook to promote a post? Since Facebook will only show your posts to a smaller percentage of your fanbase (roughly 20% or so), we paid Facebook $5 to increase the amount of views on our post regarding Barretto’s departure and us hunting for a new vocalist. After the promotion period ended is when the influx of likes occurred. Basically trying to determine if other folks have had the same issue roughly around the same time to see if the two are connected. If Facebook is selling likes like that, it’s pretty shady…

While the damage is already done with the insane amount of fake likes from bot accounts, we’ve unfortunately had to block certain countries from seeing this page in order to hopefully alleviate this problem. If we had legitimate fans in Indonesia, the Philippines, Iraq, Egypt, Algeria, Kenya, Yemen, Oman, Malaysia, Thailand, Peru, Brazil, and Sudan/South Sudan, we apologize and understand that this is nothing personal. We sincerely doubt we’re as popular over there as Facebook’s metrics are showing and considering probably about 99% of these fake pages originate from those locations. Hopefully once Facebook sorts out whatever this issue is (if ever), we can lift the restrictions. It really is unfortunate we’re having to do this, but we conduct business in a legitimate manner and don’t want to be associated with fake likes to appear to be more popular than we really are. We enjoy interacting with our fans and this situation is making it difficult to do so. Thank you all for your understanding and support.”

Some bands, such as Vishal J. Singh’s project Amogh Symphony, are opting to delete their Facebook pages altogether. So can more (or at least less drastic) measures be taken to resolve this issue? Unfortunately, the most reasonable solution would be to stop forcing pages to pay for post promotion, which won’t happen as long as Facebook can make any sort of profit. All we can really do is hope more fans take an active role and actually share posts they like with their friends online (AKA, be more social on Facebook…crazy concept, right?).

Watch Red Seas Fire guitarist Petey Graves’ video further explaining the “like” crisis below.

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[Thanks to Heavy Blog Is Heavy for originally reporting this and sharing Katie Jackson’s image above]