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Rahul Thadani
How do Facebook ‘Like’ scams reach thousands of users?
November 6, 2012

If you look, you will find countless Facebook pages that have hundreds of thousands of likes and comments. But are these real? Some of the posts invite people to write a comment to see what happens. But predictably, nothing happens and this is all part of a large-scale Facebook scam.

These ‘stories’ then appear on newsfeeds and begin to resemble spam. The most common modus operandi for such Facebook scams is to attract people by getting their sympathy. This is easily achieved with images of sick children, wounded animals or details about some charitable organization.

How the scam functions
A page is created with a sympathetic message or an amusing anecdote to attract attention. The post is then shared publicly and people are called to perform actions like ‘like the page’, ‘comment’ or ‘share the page’. The next step posts the page on similar nefarious groups and spreads to hundreds of thousands of people via their newsfeed.

image 1

Once a page has garnered thousands of likes/comments, it is put up for sale. Someone who wishes to acquire the exposure of the page can purchase it and potentially misuse it. Certain details of the page can also be modified for malicious purposes. In this manner, anyone can get their hands on pages with high edge ranks to spam thousands of people, even though they may have the best anti-spam software. Such scams can spread propaganda, increase likes/comments, market something or even fool people into giving money or information.

Edge Rank and how it can be misused
The reason why parties resort to this trick is the money that can be gained via the ‘Facebook Like algorithm’. As a post gets increased comments/likes, its visibility rises. This page is then displayed to a greater number of people and this is beneficial to marketers in the short term and the long term.

This algorithm devised by Facebook functions on a platform known as Edge Rank. This is simply the score of a page based on various parameters and this score determines how useful the page actually is. In turn, this decides how many people will view the page. A higher edge rank allows a page to be displayed to more people in their newsfeed. Various factors that come into play here are affinity (closeness with the person), weight (embedded video or a link) and the time decay (relevance).

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Unfortunately, there are many parties out there that misuse this platform. A high edge rank can be used to enhance brand exposure but it can also be used to bombard Facebook users with random messages and promotions that they are not interested in. Scammers also use this method to reach as many people as possible. All this has led to a process known as ‘Like buying’. This refers to the sale of Facebook fan pages and a simple Google search validates this.

Awareness about this technique and other Facebook scams is useful. ‘Like buying’ is quite a common occurrence and it can be misused in several ways. We recommend that you do not fall for manipulative messages or images that ask you for comments or likes.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Rahul Thadani
About Rahul Thadani
Rahul is a web enthusiast and blogger, and has been writing about the computer security industry for the last three years. Following the latest technology trends,...
Articles by Rahul Thadani »

57 Comments

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  1. true…..
    facebook must regulate it’s size

    Reply
  2. i meant Site

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  3. I have seen thousands of like scams…
    Facebook must improve 🙁

    Reply
  4. very useful post. deserves wide attention. should be put on face book pages as well.

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  5. Very useful post. Thank you very much. Recently I also received posts like this from friends, such like this page and write 77 , see what happens. I did , nothing happened. Now I know what these posts are. I will inform my friends.

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  6. Thanks 4 the info, i once noticed these pages but i never cared, i better be carefull now coz i know.

    Reply
  7. rajul saxenaNovember 6, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    thanks its really always informative to read your posts

    Reply
  8. rajesh grewalNovember 6, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    it is very useful post for those people who share and like these type of pages………

    Reply
  9. THE FUN IS IF YOU LIKE AND WRITE SOMETHING NOTHING HAPPENS …..

    Reply
  10. this is very useful information
    people should avoid liking this kind of scams !!

    Reply
  11. narendra panjwaniNovember 6, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    Thank you, this is useful info. I did not know this, but now that i do,
    I’ll avoid pressing like yes/no buttons on Fbook, but also perhaps other websites.

    Reply
  12. very useful post..

    Reply
  13. santanu duttNovember 6, 2012 at 9:12 PM

    Thanks to Quick heal. Today i have received such a message from a madam of school of our locality who is my fb friend. But i did not click LIKE . thus i am saved from scam.Now a days it has become difficult if a person do not use anti virus like QUICK HEAL which is extra ordinary as it has research of daily scams and malwares.Thus i am saved.

    Reply
  14. santanu duttNovember 6, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    thans tro QUICK HEAL team for such information.

    Reply
  15. Thanks for the info. . . This is just like google sms channels, they also get more subscribers for their channel & sale it. . .

    Reply
  16. kudos quick heal team. A true effort of an anti-virus. team.A good job done for creating awareness. Can FB not publish similar alert on its pages. It will help people and FB as wel as its matter of prestige for FB

    Reply
  17. Thanks Quickheal….

    Reply
  18. mukesh mehtaNovember 7, 2012 at 6:37 AM

    i appreciate that you QH is making an effort to connect to all user / customers by sending information about the scams and unhealthy practices used in IT industries regularly to make us aware.. All users need to know this is going to happen as everyone wants to market their products and expose others weak side. Now important is QH maintains ethical standards, creates robust programmes, updates with more reasearch time on the HOW to keep the USER / Clients Safe. Viruses,Hacking of site, Spiders, many more dirt is left on internet,Algorithms are created by fellow programmers who uses their intellect in business development for their companies survival. The challenge i see for QH is not to give up its on personal ethics in the journey to confront the above. It is easy to expose others but difficult to share and reflect on our own weaknesses.

    Reply
  19. Ketan BhattNovember 7, 2012 at 6:58 AM

    very useful post.
    Thanks to Quick heal.

    Reply
  20. i get an impression 4m this article and decides not to fall a prey to advertisements.

    Reply
  21. I am glad for using Quick heal, it not only protects your system, it also informs you.

    Reply
  22. Very useful information, we must aware.

    Reply
  23. suvechchha royNovember 7, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    i think its great to use quickheal antivirus software coz it awares us abt every danger like dis LIKE SCAMS. thank you quic heal for awaring us and helping us to stop all these things.

    Reply
  24. facebok must look after these matters

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  25. Thanks for the info.

    Reply
  26. Quickheal thanks for making us aware about such things!

    Reply
  27. Tushar ChatterjeeNovember 7, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    sorry to say, u grossly do not understand the significance of having a ‘page’ in facebook and how it is actually manipulated. as far as SEO point of view, one can manipulate any page without going for such tedious work schedule.

    however, every page generates demographical data which is generated when a person likes/comments or shares an update of a given facebook page, if one manipulates the page, either in ur way or in any other-ways, then the significance of that data is lost and hence the page’s one of the main purpose is lost.

    like, i have a page about indian stock market, so the peoples interact with this page are mostly the peoples who are interested in our service related to stock market, it is seen that most them are from Mumbai or Ahmadabad, this very information helps us to focus our campaign in these two cities. this way facebook page works for an online marketer.

    now if we manipulate the data by any methods, then essentially we will get like/comments/shares from all over the world, thus the significance of having a page will be lost as we will not be able to understand what is our target client base.

    i hope this example is enough to show that although there are lots of on line scam going on, but from a marketing perspective, such scams are essentially fruitless.

    thank you very much,

    tushar chatterjee
    http://www.marketmover.in

    Reply
    • Hi Tushar,
      You have a valid point, but you missed the essence. Genuine online marketers and corporate entities target demographics so they will not abuse such techniques. But this trick or scam is not carried out by genuine online marketers and corporate entities. It is performed by parties that intend to use the pages for nefarious purposes.

      Someone who has a valid Indian stock market page will not feel the need to purchase Likes from suspicious parties. But can you say the same about an underground Russian affiliate marketer or hacker who intends to distribute spam to as many people as possible?
      Regards.

      Reply
      • Tushar ChatterjeeNovember 7, 2012 at 1:16 PM

        yes, now i got your point. thanks for prompt answer and explanation!

        wish you a very good day

        tushar chatterjee

        Reply
  28. can we share this page on facebook?

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  29. thanku for giving us such an important message

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  30. Ramanbhai RathodNovember 7, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    I personally feel that Face Book is also directly involved in such bussiness.It may also be supplying information in respect of its members to encash.Thanks for making us aware of what is going wrong.

    Reply
  31. Thank You
    Thanks Very use full information…..

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  32. thanks for sharing such good information.

    Reply
  33. Vikas BansalNovember 7, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Can I Share This On My Facebook Page. ?

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  34. How come 99% respondents to this are Indians? Are we the only ones who falla prey to this?

    Reply
  35. Hardik RathodNovember 7, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    yaa this is very true facebook should improve itself. I also revived such invitations.

    Reply
  36. Its like Tweets and followers

    Reply
  37. Shailesh PendseNovember 7, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    The economics of the Like scams is a bit difficult for a layman like me, but how much of such info is shared by FB willingly is the matter that concerns the users of such social networking web sites

    Reply
  38. Ansari FaheemNovember 7, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    Thanks

    Reply
  39. Ansumay DattaNovember 7, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    Very useful.

    Reply
  40. very useful post…facebook users…be aware!!!

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  41. Pretty useful info

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  42. SANTOSH KUMARNovember 7, 2012 at 10:14 PM

    very useful & important.

    Reply
  43. I didn’t know all abt this before this posting n hve ‘commented’ n ‘liked’ a lot of them. Frm now on I’ll never do that again. I promise. Thanx 4 providing such a valuable information.

    Reply
  44. awesome.. i mean woow…. brilliant..
    you are a genius man♥♥
    i like quick heal antivirus.

    Reply
  45. Amit Kansa BanikNovember 8, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    I love my quick heal total security 2013…..

    Reply
  46. Kousik AdhikaryNovember 8, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    I myself have seen the first type of scam!

    Reply
  47. Thnx 4 imp. info.and effective service.

    Reply
  48. Soubhagya DeepNovember 8, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    Awareness is the only remedy.

    Reply
  49. Thanks for the information. I didn’t knew about this before I read this post. Thanks once again for this post.

    Reply
  50. very useful info, thanks for it…but i have a question….is this applicable to fan pages as well???

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  51. Thanks rahul,
    really the like scam of facebook is hazardous which many of the are unaware of..
    thanks once again really for nice post

    Reply
  52. Puspal MondalNovember 18, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    Thanks to quick heal team for giving such huge important notice to all of the quick heal users. we general people don’t understand the procedures of the spams and the ‘like buying’..but the awareness make us more concuss about the fb liking hackers..thnx to quick heal team for telling us about fb spam and liking buying procedure,facebook authority should have been done this type of notice to all of there fb user.

    Reply