Facebook has begun the process of deleting numerous "fake" user accounts in order to increase transparency and authenticity of the network.
In early August, the social network giant had admitted there were approximately 83 million illegitimate accounts in a report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
At the time, Facebook said it planned to delete these accounts, including millions of pet accounts.
As promised, the purge has started. Along with it comes the removal of several "Likes" stemming from the various types of accounts that do not follow Facebook's terms of service and definition of what constitutes a "legitimate" Facebook account.
According to The Verge, it is not clear how many of the so-called "fake" accounts were deleted on Thursday, but it was noted that many celebrity and business fan pages saw a significant decrease in "Likes" over the course of one day.
Several media sources pointed towards Page Data, which indicated the purge started as several high-profile fan pages lost tens of thousands of "Likes". TechCrunch said Facebook had confirmed to them the purge had commenced.
"These newly improved automated efforts will remove those Likes gained by malware, compromised accounts, deceived users, or purchased bulk Likes," Facebook said last month. "While we have always had dedicated protections against each of these threats on Facebook, these improved systems have been specifically configured to identify and take action against suspicious Likes."
This move to eliminate the accounts that are not considered to be legitimate is important to Facebook's credibility as the network tries to convince businesses that it has a genuine audience, and that purchasing ads on the network is worth the investment. The company has also been struggling since its IPO launch in May, with Facebook's stock price steadily hovering at approximately half the initial value, with a few dips even lower.
Want to know who lost the most fans in one day after the purge? Mashable has listed the top 10.