Facebook Like & Share Photo Scams – Don’t Make Scammers Rich

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Did you know that liking or sharing content on Facebook can make unscrupulous and corrupt Internet scammers make lots of money.

It’s called Like-Farming, Like-Whoring or Like-Baiting. But it’s all the same thing. Those posts on Facebook that have been put there to make someone else lots of money.

They may look innocent enough – posts that ask you to like and share a photo to win an iPad, or “like if you hate cancer”, or claiming you’re helping a child fight a life threatening disease, or sending a prayer to the less fortunate.

Thousands of these photos circulate Facebook every single second. But whilst you may think that no harm can come from sharing these posts, there is an unsavoury dark side that hardly anyone knows about, that may have you thinking twice before hitting the share button.

The process is known as like-farming (or as some refer to it as likewhore pages) which is a term that describes the process of trying to accumulate as many Facebook followers/fans to a Facebook Page as possible, primarily through the method of posting content and urging users to like and share it.

Such posts that do go viral across Facebook help the Page that posted the content accumulate fans. The more fans a Facebook page acquires, the more value that Facebook page has. This is because the Page owner can “reach” the users who follow it, making it a valuable marketing tool. The page can be sold to marketing companies, or used to help spread more profitable scams, such as survey/reward affiliate scams.

So when you share or like a post that a Facebook like-farming page posted, you can be helping that Page gain followers, which ultimately puts money into a scammers pocket.

This consequence of profiting scammers can be particularly undesirable, especially when you learn exactly to what end a scammer will go to to get their Page as many fans as possible.

Here are some popular examples as to what posts like-farming scammers will use.


Some examples used by Like-Whore Scammers…

Reads – ” “Like” if you hate cancer. :(“ – images that say this should be ignored. You don’t need to show people you hate cancer.

Reads – “Please Don’t Ignore :'( Share=1 Pray Facebook will donate 1$ for each share” – Facebook don’t donate for shares or likes.

Reads – “Hit LIKE and type the word “escape” as comment in this photo. 2. And see what happens to the people inside the truck 3. It’s really amazing friends … try it now…” – Nothing happens when you like, share or comment on a photo. Ever.

“Click if you Hate Cancer” – Emotional Manipulation

Photos that implore users to Like or Share if they’re against a disease or something equally appalling, with the implication that ignoring the photo somehow shows you do not care or are in support of cancer. These posts essentially boil down to emotional manipulation.

“Share for a FREE iPad” – Fake Promotions

One of the more prolific methods used by scammers involves Like-farming Pages posting photos purporting to giveaway various electronics and vouchers whereby sharing or liking the photo automatically enters you into the competition. These are fake competitions.

Share-to-Donate

Such content depicts suffering children or animals along with the false assertion that Sharing or Liking the photo will result in Facebook or another entity donating money to help. However this is false and these photos are often stolen and exploited by the scammers.

Share-to-Pray

Such content depicts suffering children or animals and this time uses the assertion that Liking or Sharing content sends a prayer to help. Whilst prayer and religion is obviously an important part of many people’s lives, it is doubtful that ‘the powers that be’ would impose restriction on prayer based on someone’s social networking activity.

“Comment to see what happens”

Photos that falsely purport that something happens after you comment, Share or Like a photo. For example “type FALL and see what happens”. Nothing will [or can] happen out of the ordinary simply by commenting on, liking or sharing a photo.

“Click if you think he/she’s beautiful” – more manipulation

Photos that implore users to click them if you think the person or animal pictured within the photo is beautiful, brave, cute or some equally synonymous adjective.


The point of Like-Farming is to get a Page as many fans as possible, no matter what the cost. So scammers will emotionally manipulate users, post misinformation to trick readers, exploit stolen photos of disabled children, amongst many other heinous acts, just to get followers, thus making them money.

This is the dark side to that innocent looking post you see on Facebook. By sharing Like-Farming posts, you are unwittingly abetting and supporting this type of exploitation and abuse of Facebook.

It is a big problem on Facebook, and one that is incredibly popular because of the sheer success like-farming has. Facebook gives more attention to posts that garner a lot of comments, likes and shares, making them more visible on the site. Scammers utilise large networks of fake accounts to jump-start this engagement, and users who share these posts help them after that.

Remember that you are responsible for what you share on Facebook, which means you should share responsibly. Ensure the information you circulate is accurate, and not the result of a Like-farming Page just trying to accumulate followers.

Of course not every post on Facebook is aimed at getting Like-farming Pages more followers, but we always recommend exercising responsible and caution sharing decisions and educate your friends to do the same.

Spreading this truth to users will make it progressively harder for scammers to lure users into Liking and Sharing, thus making it harder to accumulate Fans. And without Fans the scammer cannot exploit anyone.




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About the Author

is an IT graduate from Plymouth, UK and the editor of ThatsNonsense.com

  • Tania M

    Thanks for this info, Craig – I have often wondered about this kind of thing but didn’t figure out how the $ was made. We need this kind of information-disseminating, there’s not enough of it around. We’re all too happy to “Fbook” on in ignorance.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Melowout Melodie Licht

    Before your article, I didn’t realize how the ‘game is played.’ I don’t usually LIKE/SHARE those types of posts/photos but treat them like the old fashioned chain letters – which are now circulated in email – and they stop dead in my inbox. One way to check these is to check out the profile and see what is actually in it – – any posts, status updates, anything? I rarely even do that. Thanks for the heads-up and the background information!

  • camaro_mang

    It’s evil and racist

  • http://www.facebook.com/davespagnol Dave Spagnol

    I’ve started a facebook group called IdiotsUnanimous. I’ve given up trying to educate people about this sort of thing (at one time someone blocked me because I asked on their wall how they would feel if it was their dead baby’s photo) so I’ve resorted to taking the piss out of them. I promise that I won’t sell the page if it takes off. As far as I’m concerned it’s a public service! Anyway take a look. Just a different angle to make people aware because Facecrooks, That’s Nonsense, Hoax Slayer and Snopes, taking the serious approach, aren’t working – despite their excellent work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/davespagnol Dave Spagnol

    http://www.facebook.com/PrivilegedOnesInSociety/ – This “page” seems to exist entirely to post photos of sick children. Craig – can you pass this to the other campaigning groups against this form of child porn / freak show / exploitation?

    • Jessie Bollen Redding

      All those photos are clearly doctored. But still.. I dont immediately see what their game is… but as you said it is disgusting. Why do they want those pics shared and commented on so badly? What’s their game?

      We are on the case.
      TMaxTechnologies that is. If there’s malintent here, they’ll be reported to the appropriate authorities.

    • drmom5

      Her poor grammar and simplistic thought indicates to me a person who means well and believes prayer can cure all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/doniefearnain Donal Laurence Heffernan

    Since Facebook created the problem by having a ‘like’ option, why not simply remove that option and stop the usefulness? We won’t die if we can’t express that opinion. If someone really wants to approve of something let them go to the trouble of typing it out, ‘like’ I am doing here. The proliferation of that little 4 letter word in our everyday use could do with being trimmed down, not encouraged.

    • Jessie Bollen Redding

      Liking isnt the problem is.. sharing is… they have advanced to encrypting photos so that when you share them you are contracting serious malware…

      http://pelicanfreak.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/the-problem-with-like-and-share-ing-on-social-media-you-do-have-everything-to-lose/

    • King Of Bob

      First of all, Facebook didn’t create the like button(The idea came out in 1998 5 years before Facebook was invented). Second of all, you would still be able to share content, so removing the like button wouldn’t accomplish anything.

      • Donal Laurence Heffernan

        Thanks for that detail. They may not have invented it, but they have adopted it use freely, thereby approving it. If there is a ‘like’ button why is there not a ‘dislike’ one. It can’t be a bias against negative comment, surely.

    • Dawn Elkins

      I suppose they should do away with the share option as well… that is narrow minded … so no one should be allowed to like or share anything because some idiots abuse the option? Youre one of those people who are unfair to those of us who have common sense.. we should suffer and do without because of actions of those who do not have common senes??? No I dont think so.

    • Tam

      Because honest businesses, celebrities, and other organizations that use Social Media as a marketing tool use information such as how many “likes” their page has generated in a certain amount of time, to how many “likes” an update has generated, to get a better understanding of what makes their fans happy. It’s a valid metric measurement that Facebook tracks.

  • Terry

    Thank you for sharing this with us! I always suspect those share or like photos are scams and I finally did a Google search and found you page. Since I’m not an internet expert, perhaps you could help me understand how sharing or liking a photo can be beneficial to the scammers. I can see the benefit of liking a page, but would sharing or liking a photo increase the EdgeRank of a page, even if the photo being shared or liked is totally unrelated to the topic of the page?

  • Kaela Wyles

    Wouldn’t it be funny if this article was written by one of those scammers? Mind blown :p

  • Afs Don

    Only one dislike button is solution or no dump people on FB

  • Satan

    You know what surprises me the most? Religious folk being manipulated.

    • drmom5

      LOL

  • Sherif Elmaghraby

    Thank you so much
    that’s what i was searching for
    facebook is full of idiots :Q

  • Shadd

    until any of these like and share sites show actual proof of people winning things and what not, I still find them to be annoying false advertising like the ole sympathy emails that used to run around msn. Seeing a lot of those on facebook too not knowing if they’re genuine or fake when someones asking to share pictures to find a family member or some junk. I dont buy into any of it.