The Like button has been around for a while now and everyone knows how it works. Or at least, everyone thinks they know how it works, but that may not be the case.
Specifically, the counter that shows up next to the Like button on many websites doesn't actually show the number of Likes the page got but how many times it was shared.
And by shared, Facebook means everything. Sending a link through private message to any of your Facebook friends will increase the count.
Sharing the same link on your timeline does the same. Even commenting on a post with that link will also count as a "like."
This was discovered rather randomly, but Facebook has confirmed that it's happening and that this is the intended behavior.
It must be noted that these "likes" are not attributed to anyone, so your name won't show up next to them. They also won't count towards a Facebook page's likes.
"Absolutely no private information has been exposed and Facebook is not automatically Liking any Facebook Pages on a user’s behalf," Facebook explained
"Many websites that use Facebook’s ‘Like’, ‘Recommend’, or ‘Share’ buttons also carry a counter next to them. This counter reflects the number of times people have clicked those buttons and also the number of times people have shared that page’s link on Facebook," it said.
"When the count is increased via shares over private messages, no user information is exchanged, and privacy settings of content are unaffected. Links shared through messages do not affect the Like count on Facebook Pages," it added.
The first scare was over the privacy issue, but there is none. Your name is not associated with the like, it won't show up on your activity and so on.
There is a problem though and that has to do with how Facebook is representing likes. If someone shares a link to an article they disagree with or is very poorly written, it still counts as a like even if the person sending the link obviously doesn't "like" the article.