The Mystery of The Phantom Facebook Likes

Phantom Facebook likes are not a new phenomenon. There’s the spooky tale of the ‘likes’ that appeared from beyond the grave. Facebook even faced a lawsuit from a user angry that they had been shown to ‘like’ pages they had never endorsed.

This next one’s a new one on me though.

This morning I set up a Facebook ad in order to drive visits to a recent piece of content. After the ad was set up, I went to the content in question, and the page was showing 34 likes from Facebook:


I was pretty sure the post in question didn’t have any ‘likes’ before I created the ad. But, I couldn’t be certain, so I decided to test the theory by creating another ad.

These are the social stats for the URL I’m promoting, before I created the ad:


And here they are after (literally, seconds after I hit ‘Place Order’):


This is before the ad has even been approved. Nobody’s seen the ad so how could 16 people have (in the space of ten minutes) visited and clicked ‘like’ on that page?

Just to be sure that no-one’s seen the page, here’s the stats for the ad just after approval:


0 clicks.

Anyone else seen this or have an inkling what’s going on? Admittedly it could be an innocent glitch on Facebook’s part. My thinking though: the phantom ‘likes’ are intentional. The glitch is the fact they’re appearing as soon as an ad is created.

Please let me know if you have any theories 😀

Amy Fowler About the author

Amy is Boom’s longest-standing member of staff, having joined the company in a junior role shortly after inception in 2011. Two years later she moved into her current position of client account manager, where she manages a number key retail Ecommerce and business service accounts.

Learn more about Amy Fowler

  • I’ve not only had mystery likes but also mystery followers. Which is fine in theory – the more the merrier. However, Facebook decided I was up to something untoward and then issued me with a warning. About apparently gathering dodgy likes and followers when I had done no such thing – numbers were innocently appearing on my page without any input from myself. V annoying in the long run and super annoying that Facebook have decided to effectively point the finger of blame at myself.

    14th June 2015 at 1:46 pm

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