This like-farming post of a shark has – at the time of writing – nearly 6 million comments and it’s going to accumulate a lot more.
That’s quite a lot. In fact as we write this, the photo is getting around 40-50 new comments every single second. It has also racked up 200,000 shares and over a million likes.
Enter Number 8 and see what happens with the photograph.
The post shows an image of a shark and asks readers to type 8 into the comments to see what happens to the photograph.
This is a version of like-farming, where the Facebook account that posted the photo is just trying to trick Facebook users into interacting with the photo so it goes viral across Facebook. Typing the number 8 doesn’t do anything to the photograph. This is called ”see what happens next” like-farming, where the user is tricked into commenting or liking a photo under the impression something will happen, when nothing will.
Of course upon realising this, most Facebook users won’t delete their comment, and the photo travels across Facebook as more and more people engage with it, resulting in the photo appearing on more and more newsfeeds.
While not the most exploitative type of like-farming out there, the ”see what happens next” variant of like-farming can still be annoying and ultimately serves to flood newsfeeds everywhere with spam.
But perhaps more serious than that is that this type of like-farming proves effective at accumulating followers for like-farming accounts that can later post other types of more exploitative and manipulative posts. The account that posted the image, called Marciel Viana, has attracted more than 1 million followers and counting. The same account has also posted a number of other types of like-farming posts, including the “type amen” variant of like-farming.
Such accounts are often used to as a Launchpad to more serious scams or sold to marketing companies looking to harvest your personal data.
Remember, if you think you’re being tricked into engaging with a post or photo, you probably are. It’s like-farming and we recommend avoiding any post you think it trying to exploit or deceive you into interacting with it.