Yesterday when I presented my Facebook Ghost Towns idea to the other PhD students (and Bob), someone brought up an important point. I think it may have been Jeffrey Xie. I know the consensus is that the ghost town effect is caused by click fraud, but I tend to prefer a less sinister explanation. I think that page owners are asking Facebook to maximize likes, so Facebook is showing their ads to people will literally like absolutely anything. There is definitely an element of click fraud in there for sure, but I need to do a lot more research to figure out proportionately who these clickers are. Are they human? Are they really who they say they are? Anyway, here is the idea that initially seemed to conflict with my hypothesis:
If they will click on absolutely anything, then why do they stop engaging with the page after the initial like?
This is a very valid question and it really got me thinking. I actually think it might be a bumper sticker effect. Just like people who go crazy with bumper stickers or tattoos or buttons (back in the day), these people are quick to identify with various companies, brands and products, but then they fail to endorse or engage with the content. Engaging with the top-level brand is one thing: "I like Nike", but they're not going to endorse a heart-to-heart post about Bill Rogers the runner from 40 years ago. Why would they care about Bill? They're not real fans, they're just click maniacs.