Just When You Thought Facebook Couldn’t Get Any Weirder

Facebook is so massive, it’s like a whole internet unto itself, with games, photos, chats, groups, and a ridiculous amount of promotion. Because of all that constant activity, it’s not surprising that shady folks have managed to find ways of scamming members of the site.

I have never liked liking things on Facebook except occasional posts from people I know. I especially don’t like liking candythings and sharing things if they are sentimental and sugary sweet. Such posts seem manipulative, as if I am being forced to have an opinion about something I have no opinion about. There are plenty of awww-some moments in real life — I don’t have to go looking for the awww factor on FB.

As it turns out, my instincts were correct. Although many such posts are real, others are scams. For example, I remember once seeing a photo of a young girl with a bald head, wearing a cheerleading uniform. The tagline on the photo said that the girl had chemo, and asked people to like or share to show her she was still beautiful.

The trouble is, that was a scam. The photo was real — the girl’s mother had posted it on Photobucket years before, and she had no idea that the photo was being used by scammers — but it was used simply to gain likes and shares. (This is called “like farming”.) Since Facebook’s algorithms are set to promote the most popular posts, likes and shares on such posts can increase exponentially. Sometimes, once the scammers have built up a page with likes, they switch content and promote a product. Or they sell page on the black market. Or they use it for phishing expeditions or even to spread malware. (Just liking a page can’t spread malware to your computer, but clicking links on the page could.)

Is this a good time to ask you to like my FB page? Probably not. And anyway, I don’t post much of anything except links to this blog, and you’re already here, so you don’t need to see the link there. But, if you insist, you can find my page at https://www.facebook.com/PatBertramAuthor. I promise I won’t scam you.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

3 Responses to “Just When You Thought Facebook Couldn’t Get Any Weirder”

  1. rami ungar the writer Says:

    Good to know you won’t scam me, Pat. And if you ever decide to like my Facebook page, I swear I won’t scam you either.

    I’ve heard a bit about this like-farming thing. I read an article where a teenage girl took a photo of a sick boy who died two years ago and started pretending in a chat room for grieving mothers that it was her son, she was in her thirties, and she’d lost the kid to cancer. When the kid’s actual mother found out…honestly, I can’t imagine what she went through. Shock and an upsurge of grief, confusion and incredulity, possibly some anger. But it’s hard for me to imagine those feelings. And try as I might to get into the head of the girl who did it, I’m still having trouble understanding why she did it. Maybe because the concept of like-farming so hard to comprehend, as something that I could never see myself doing. It boggles the mind, truth be told.

  2. Malcolm R. Campbell Says:

    We’re in trouble either way we go. If we LIKE something to show support, we may later find out it’s a scam. If we seldom LIKE anything, then posts by those people disappear from our news feeds and we can’t keep up with them unless we specifically go to their pages. I’ve started putting stuff on Google+ just in case Facebook finally goes the way of MySpace.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      So true about being in trouble either way. That’s why more and more I’m sticking with blogging. I don’t know if it does any good, but it feels like my own safe place on the Internet.

      I’ve signed up for google+, too, but so far, I haven’t done much with it. It seems cumbersome.


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