Like-Farming Video Scam - 'Missing Malaysia Airlines Plane Found in Forest'
Outline'Breaking News' message circulating on Facebook claims that the missing Malaysia Airlines plane has been found. The message features a video teaser image depicting a plane crashed on a dirt roadway beside a forest.
Brief AnalysisAt the time of writing, the plane has not yet been found. The message is a scam designed to trick people into liking a particular Facebook Page. The image certainly does not show the Malaysia Airlines Plane. The purpose of the scam is to gather large numbers of Page likes so that the Page can be reused for further spam and scam campaigns or sold on the black market. This is just one among several similar fake video Facebook scams that falsely claim that the plane has been found. If you receive one of these messages, do not click on any links that it contains.
Scroll down to read a detailed analysis with references.
[BREAKING NEWS] Missing plane found!
According to a message that is being widely distributed on Facebook, missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has been found. The message, presented as a 'breaking news' video, features a teaser image depicting a downed jet on a bush roadway beside a forest. The message is designed to get users to click the picture in the hope of seeing the "news" video.
However, at least at the time of writing, claims that the plane has been found are untrue. The message is a disgraceful scam designed to fool people into liking a particular Facebook Page.
Those who take the bait and click the link in the message will be taken to a fake Facebook webpage that appears to host the crash video. However, when users click the "Play" button on the video, a popup message will inform them that they must share the post on their Facebook wall before they can view the footage, ostensibly for security reasons.
If users do share as requested, they will next be taken to a Facebook Page and told that they must like the Page before proceeding to the video. Once they like the Page, users will then receive a message containing a link to a YouTube video. However, this YouTube video contains nothing more than an outdated news segment about the search for the missing plane. The YouTube video does not claim that the plane has been found and certainly does not contain footage of a plane crashed in a forest.
The goal of the people who created this scam is to firstly trick people into promoting their bogus message across Facebook and secondly to like their fraudulent Facebook Page. By using such tactics, a Page can accumulate a great many likes in just a few days. And, once a Page has gained large like-numbers it can then be used to perpetrate further scams, this time to a considerably larger audience. In some cases, the Page may be sold on to other scammers via a thriving black market. The more likes a Page has, the more money it can be sold for.
The version I discuss here is just one among several that have falsely claimed that the plane has been found. Be wary of any Facebook post that claims that the missing plane has been located and invites you to click a link to watch a video. When the plane is finally found, news of the find will be published via reputable news outlets all round the world. Thus, you can quickly check the veracity of any "breaking news" post you receive by doing a quick search on a news portal such as Google News.
Please do not further the goals of the immoral users who create these bogus posts by clicking the links in their messages.
Last updated: March 24, 2014
First published: March 24, 2014
Written by Brett M. Christensen