Social Media Law

“1000 Facebook-Fans, please!” Is it legal to buy Facebook-likes?

Building a Facebook-fan page is a lengthy and laborious process. If one does not have the necessary patience there is a remedy to boost the likes: buying likes.

Stern TV will report today how the trade with the commodity “Facebook-Fans” works. Furthermore, Stern TV will present a new web application which exposes Facebook “like-cheaters”.

The „Facebook Like Check“ shows the countries from where the fans/”likes” of a particular Facebook page originate. A German fan page with striking number of likes from China or India raises the suspicion that fans have been bought.

But is this actually illegal? Are there indeed valid legal argument against buying Facebook-fans?

The legal situation

In the opinion of Christian Solmecke, partner with the law firm WILDE BEUGER SOLMECKE, buying Facebook-fans is illegal:

“Buying fans is comparable with paying for positive consumer reviews. If the Facebook-fan page of a company has a remarkably high number of fans, that expresses the same as a strikingly high number of positive reviews. The latter, however, is prohibited under competition law, if such reviews are not genuine but have been paid for”.

Conclusion

Regardless of whether buying Facebook-likes makes sense from a marketing perspective, from a legal perspective it is clearly illegal. Who is involved in large-scale payments for Facebook-fans, is in violation of competition law and can be served notice by competitors.

The new application „Facebook Like Check“ will facilitate detecting large-scale “like”-buyers.

 

Christian Solmecke is a partner at the law firm WILDE BEUGER SOLMECKE. He is the author of numerous legal publications in the area of internet and IT law. He is also an associate lecturer for social media law at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences.

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