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Facebook has begun deleting fake page “likes”, independent data suggests.

According to Pagedata, many of the site’s most “liked” pages suffered large drops in numbers on Wednesday.

The move follows the social network’s admission that 8.7% of its users are not “real”, many having been set up by spammers who use them to artificially make pages appear more popular.

The issue poses a problem for Facebook as it seeks to expand its targeted advertising service.

Facebook’s shares have slumped from their initial public offering of $38 (£23) in May to $20.62 on Thursday.

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