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.
“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.
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.
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.