We outline 4 different ways to spot a like-farming page on Facebook so you know when you’re being conned.
For the uninitiated, like-farming describes the process where spammers and scammers on Facebook will lure, bait or trick users into following Facebook pages, using various methods of exploitation and deception.
This usually means posting exploitative or deceptive posts from the Facebook page, designed specially to lure users into engaging with them and following the page that published the post. Popular examples are posts that implore you to type “Amen”, posts that assert sharing equates to donations made to a sick child, or fake giveaways that direct you to sharing a post and liking the page to win.
You can read our full article on like-farming, what it is and how it works here.
Like-farming pages – those pages that make those sorts of posts – tend to share certain hallmarks that help us determine that they are like-farming pages, and their content shouldn’t be shared (or engaged with at all.) Here we discuss 4 of those hallmarks.
When was the page created?
Like-farming pages tend to be short-lived before Facebook flags them and either removes them or reduces their reach. Thus like-farming pages will often be newly created. In fact some of the most popular like-farming pages will only be days or weeks old.
Whilst of course not all new Facebook pages will be like-farming pages, checking how long the Facebook page has been posted for – simply by scrolling down – is a simple yet effective way of seeing if a Facebook page should be trusted.
Is the page verified?
Some of the most prolific like-farming techniques rely on a Facebook page masquerading as an official entity of a brand that they actually have nothing to do with. This is especially true of fake competition like-farming posts that claim you can win some freebie for sharing a post onto your timeline.
Fortunately Facebook provide a simple way of determining if a page represents the official entity of a brand via their verification process. Official brand pages are denoted by a tick next to the title of the page. If no such tick exists, the page may not belong to the brand. (Note that smaller brands may not have this tick simply because they are not popular enough to obtain one.)
So for example if you see a page claiming to be Apple claiming to be conducting an iPhone giveaway, but the page does not have that important blue tick, the page is not associated with Apple. This means it could be operated by anyone. I.e. like-farming spammers.
What other content does the page post?
So you’ve seen one post published by the page. But what else is the page posting? Like-farming pages tend to have one primary goal – and that is to lure people into following them. So it is always worth checking what other type of posts the page is posting.
If all – or the majority – of the posts seem concerned with asking you to share posts and liking the page, then you’re almost certainly looking at a like-farming Facebook page.
Genuine Facebook pages tend not to be so direct when it comes to attracting fans, since they’ll focus on posting genuine, useful or interesting content that their audience will like.
Does the page seem too keen to pull on the emotional heart-strings?
Exploitation is one of the most effective weapons in the like-farmers arsenal, and from experience, they’re not afraid to use it. Posts that are designed to yield an emotional response are much more likely to result in engagement, whether that’s a comment, a like or a share, and this is what like-farming posts want, since engagement helps the post circulate more prolifically across Facebook.
Popular subjects can include posts about animal abuse, child abuse, domestic abuse, disease, poverty and illness.
Thus if a Facebook page seems to puublish lots of posts that invoke an emotional response and also encourages sharing or liking, then you are most likely looking at a like-farming page.
The more you educate yourself about like-farming, and how like-farmers work, the better you will be at both spotting and avoiding them. Like-farmers exploit and deceive Facebook users, all for their own gain. Don’t help them. Educate yourself and your friends. Remember you can read our full article on like-farming here.