Figure 1: A trick to farm “Like” on Facebook
It is an image of a baby who is in critical condition. The photo attaches with a message of support “1 Like to support this baby”. Without a second thought, you may click like or share to show your sympathy, however, don’ you wonder whether it is true or not? If you actually click “Like” or “Share” to support the page, welcome to “Like Farming” on Facebook’s world.
So how the “Like Farming” works? According to ATMC 2013, a person or a group of people generates a page on Facebook and starts posting a touching image with a quote or anything content, which touch the psychology of viewers. You click “Like” to that page and it now appears on your news feed. Whenever you interact with this page such as comment, this will automatically appears in your friend’s news feed. The more people see the page, the more people click “Like”. Just like that, the page will be well known across the bridge relationship on social networks.
Figure 2: Reproduced from Philips 2013
Figure 3: Selling Fan Page on Facebook
So why “Like Farming” is bad? Like farming is a scam, and when you fall for the scam you spread the fake information to newsfeed everywhere, including your friends” (Kleinberg 2013). When you click “Like” to a pitiful image, you may think that you are contribute a little support to those who are in difficult circumstance. However, the truth is that not only you are hurting the victim or their family, but also you are helping those who abuse this tactic to evoke sympathy of the viewers in order to earn profit. In another word, the suffering of the victim is brought out as a joke to help the scammers to reach their nefarious purposes.
Figure 4: A page with 65,000 fans being sold as 65 million VND
So what is nefarious purpose? Once the page get more than a hundred thousand of fans, the creator will start to strip the page and get a new name to promote something else such as product advertising, sales. In additional, same as other media that sell advertising, the page also can be sold to the black-market websites or to someone who needs it (Gross 2014). Moreover, if the site managers do not want to sell the page, they can rent the page for business. For example, the site manager will contact a shop selling clothes or food and let them rent the page for 1 to 5 million per month (depending on the amount of fans).
Figure 5: The price of page related to the amount of fans
In general, Facebook is a powerful advertising tool, which only bring benefits to your business (Eastman n.d.). We can easily reach huge number of audience by using Facebook pages to advertise products/services (Crisrofaro et al. 2014). Some of new companies bought this kind of service to earn profit for their business (Brand Channel n.d.) but they did not know that they are victims of the hoax. Therefore, we should prevent this trick by considering clearly about what we “Like” on Facebook so that we will not feel regret later when we know that we are putting money in the pocket of scammers.
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ATMC n.d., ‘Greeting ATMC Internet Customers!’, ATMC, viewed 21 April 2015, <http://www.atmc.net/res/pdfs/internetinsights/2013July.pdf>
Crisrofaro, ED, Friedman, A, Jourjon, G, Kaafar, MA & Shafiq, MZ 2014, ‘Pay for Likes? Understanding Facebook Like Fraud Using Honeypots’, arxiv.org, viewed 21 April 2015, <http://arxiv.org/pdf/1409.2097v2.pdf>
Eastman, K n,d., ‘The Power of Facebook Advertising‘, TN Media Blog, viewed 21 April 2015, <http://www.tnmedia.com/facebook-advertising/>
Kleinberd, S 2013, ‘The Facebook likes you should dislike’, Chicago Tribune, viewed 21 Apirl 2015, <http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-08-08/features/ct-tribu-social-media-scam-likefarming-20130808_1_facebook-photos-newsfeed-the-facebook>
Phillip, L 2013, ‘ Why You are Already In a Facebook Like Farm, image, Koozai, 6 August, viewed 21 April 2015, <http://www.koozai.com/blog/social-media/you-are-a-like-farm/>