Facebook posts that claim Facebook (or another entity) will donate money towards a sick or injured child each time a Facebook user either shares or likes a photo is actually a form of like-farming.
Most Facebook users will have at some point come across a Facebook post of an image of a child in need along with the assertion that sharing and liking that photo will result in Facebook (or, for example, a charity) donating money to help. For example, the post may claim Facebook will donate towards life-saving medication or surgery, or that the donations will go towards starving children in third world countries.
It’s actually a form of like-farming. Like-farming is the process of attempting to attract likes, shares and followers using a combination of deception and exploitation. In this case, spammers are deceiving Facebook users into believing that interacting with a Facebook post will result in donations, but this is not the case. Facebook, nor other companies will make such important donations in this context.
Of course the implication that Facebook would condition such important intervention on whether or not a Facebook post could accumulate an arbitrary number of engagements is absurd.
Of course many users will share or like a photo, just in case it might be true, unaware that there is actually a very dark, sinister side to these hoaxes.
The reality is that these photos of children are stolen elsewhere from the Internet, without permission from the child or family, and the photo is exploited to accumulates fans for Facebook pages in a process known as Facebook Like-farming. More about that here.
Like-farming scammers post all sorts of content, even content that is deceptive or immoral, such as photos that claim sharing them will invoke donations. However since these photos were acquired without permission, it is unethical to exploit them in this misleading manner.
In the past, the families of the children in the photos have been made aware that their photos are being used in such a way, which is something that can often lead to a great deal of distress. In many instances the child depicted in the photo had since passed away, making the entire scheme even more abhorrent.
Ultimately, scammers who post these photos simply do not care about what content they post. Their sole intention is to get their content to go viral, regardless of who their content exploits.
If you come across a photo, simply report it to Facebook, and avoid commenting, liking or sharing it, since engagement on a post of any kind helps it reach more people on Facebook. Remember that these Facebook pages that publish these posts want you to engage the posts and like their pages, but it is ultimately just to get followers to their Facebook pages.
You can read more about like-farming on this page here to learn how it works and what you can do to help stop it.