USA Today’s Facebook Page Loses 5 Million Likes After Network Uncovers ‘Major Spam Operation’

Facebook announced Friday that the company has discovered and dismantled a network of fake accounts that have been rising on the site over the last six months. The result of that purge has caused tremendous damage to one news outlet’s Facebook page in particular — USA Today.

In its statement, Facebook announced that the latest purge of spammers could bring down follower counts among 99 percent of large publisher pages by less than three percent.

It appears no major outlet has been affected by the purge more than USA Today.

The newspaper has already lost five million followers from its primary Facebook page by the end of Friday.

“The apparent intent of the campaign was to deceptively gain new friend connections by liking and interacting primarily with popular publisher Pages on our platform, after which point they would send spam,” Facebook said in a statement. “We observed that the bulk of these accounts became dormant after liking a number of Pages, suggesting they had not been mobilized yet to actually make connections and send spam to those people.”

According to data from CrowdTangle, USA Today had 15.2 million likes Thursday and has dropped to 10.2 million — a fall of 32.38 percent. Likes were falling from USA Today’s page at a blistering pace Friday, with thousands of followers disappearing every minute.

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The Daily Caller