Rants and raves about stuff happening in and around my life in Singapore

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Facebook LIKE Scam

9:13 PM By Barry Smyth 7 comments

It's really annoying when people post those emotional images, videos or status updates that prompt people to like or comment on them. The posts usually contain some sort of promise, like “if you type ‘MOVE’ into the comments section, watch what happens to the image,” or “my sister has downs syndrome, like if you still think she’s beautiful like I do.” These types ....

.... of viral posts are actually a form of a Facebook scam called “Like Farming.” So people need to read on and wise the hell up.

These posts work by slowly gathering likes for a Facebook page, usually full of innocent content like famous quotes or heart wrenching emotional photos. However, the true purpose of these pages is often to gain enough traction in Facebook’s algorithm to begin appearing in users’ news feeds.

And of course once you "like" something you’re not only sharing the content on your wall so all your friends can see it (which by the way is becoming extremely irritating) but you’re also automatically subscribing and giving permission for future newsfeed updates to site owners. This happens EVERY time and ANYWHERE you Like something.

The owners of the page can then post advertising and links that reach a much wider audience because of the groundwork they've laid by collecting likes. They can link to whatever products or sites they wish, including products that they may receive a commission on or even to identity-stealing malware. And since you've “liked” the page, you're now accepting anything the owners want to post in your feed, including those annoying advertisements. And of course you've also just given them access to some of your personal information too.


In some cases the page, with all of its well meaning "like" fan base, is sold off giving the new buyer access to a whole group of people for very little effort. In fact believe it or not there is an emerging market for buying Facebook likes. And if you think that's insane then don’t take my word for it, go ahead and do a search for "buy Facebook likes" and see how many pages you get.

So if you see a post in your Facebook feed that ……

- shows a photo that tugs at your emotions asking you to "to like or comment if you care"
- challenges you with a "99% of people get this wrong" message followed by some stupid maths equation
- promises "For every like so and so will donate $1" to some cause or other
- promises "We are going to give away such and such to 5 people who like this post"
- asks you to “enter the first word you see” from a grind of random letters
- asks you to “name a fruit beginning with the letter A” or something equally word related

…… then avoid it like the plague since the chances are it is a part of this "Like Farming" scam.

The variety and ingenuity of the people behind these “Like Farming” scams is never ending and while some of the images and posts made by them have a basis in fact, the majority are pure fabrication. But they all have one thing in common, ALL of them without exception follow the same “LIKE” or “COMMENT” format because they need you to do that in order to gain access to your information and through your actions to gain access to your friends.

I could go on but I think the point has been made and if after reading this you ignore these pieces of advise you only have yourself to blame.

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  1. Thanks. The latest trick seems to be asking people to share short funny video clips (as well as these wonderfully health recipes like adding fruit to water). Seen a few friends liking them which of course in no way reflects on their sense of humour (sic).

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