Debunking email hoaxes and exposing Internet scams since 2003!

Hoax-Slayer Logo Hoax-Slayer Logo

DividerDivider
Home    About    New Articles    RSS Feed    Subscriptions    Contact
DividerDivider


Site Navigation



Facebook Like-Farming Scams

Overview

An increasing number of bogus Pages appearing on Facebook are designed to do nothing more than artificially increase their popularity by tricking users into "liking" them. This tactic has come to be known as "like-farming". The goal of these unscrupulous like-farmers is to increase the value of Facebook Pages so that they can be sold on the black market to other scammers and/or used to market dubious products and services and distribute further scams. The more likes a Page has, the more resale and marketing value it commands.

How like-farming works

Here's how a typical like-farming scam operates. The scammers first create a new Facebook Page geared to a certain product or service such as smartphones, gaming consoles, beauty products, or theme parks. The Page may state or imply that it is an official Page endorsed by a company such as Samsung, Apple, Sony or Disneyland and include stolen graphics that depict the targeted company's products.


Like Farming Page

The Page then begins posting messages claiming that it will be giving away free products to selected users:




Like Farming Bogus Giveaway

But, nobody actually wins anything. Ever. The prizes do not even exist. The promised prizes are just the bait used to entice users into liking the page and sharing the promotional posts. By getting people to click the like button as well as spam out the bogus promotions by sharing them with their friends, these fake Pages can accumulate many thousands of likes, often within just a few hours.

Generally, a few days after the initial posting, when the first liking frenzy has died down, the scammers operating the Page will post a second - equally bogus - promotion thereby initiating a whole new round of like-harvesting. The scammers will continue posting new promotions every few days until they have gained enough likes to suit their needs.

What scammers gain out of creating like-farming Pages

When they have accumulated a large number of likes - perhaps 100,000 or more - the scammers can then sell the Page to unscrupulous marketers. These marketers can then re-purpose the Page to suit their needs and use its large "like" base to blast out spam messages promoting their products or services. Selling Facebook Pages is clearly against Facebook's Terms of Service. Nevertheless, there is a thriving underground market for established Facebook Pages and the more likes the Page has the more that it can potentially be sold for. There are even marketplace websites and forums set up specifically to buy and sell Facebook Pages. The marketplace for Pages is quite volatile and there are significant variations in listed prices. But, a Page with 100,000 Likes can sell for $1000 or more. Often, prices are calculated on a "$ per K" basis, i.e., the seller might set a base price of - for example - $2 per thousand likes.

Like-farmers might have dozens of scam promotion Pages operating at the same time. Thus, they can make significant amounts of money out of their farming activities.

In some cases, like-farmers might rebrand the pages themselves and use them to promote products or launch further scam campaigns.

How to tell a like-farming scam from a genuine promotion or giveaway

Companies and organizations may operate legitimate Facebook driven promotions in which users receive a chance to win a prize in exchange for liking, sharing or otherwise participating. So, how can you tell if a promotion you come across on Facebook is genuine? Here's a rundown:

Do not give the unethical people who create these pages any satisfaction. Do not like their bogus Pages. Do not share their lies. And make sure that your Facebook friends are aware of how these scams operate so that they won't get caught out either.

Bookmark and Share

Last updated: May 15, 2013
First published: May 15, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

Further Reading
Beware - 'Unsealed' Product Giveaways on Facebook