I have long held suspicions that the Like button on Facebook is not your friend.
I’m sure you’ve seen some of the pictures floating around Facebook that seem to make no sense. There seems to be no end to the litany of crossword puzzles asking you to “type the first word you see.” Maybe you’ve seen a picture of… well, almost anything that might elicit a reaction, asking you to “share if you agree, Like of you don’t.”
How about the innumerable political posts, calling for impeachment or support? Are all those posts really put out there by people who care? Then, of course, you see a good number of “If I get 100,000 likes, my dad will take me to Disneyland.” It all seems quite innocent, but you need to understand that this is big business, and commenting or liking is not in your best interest.
Here’s a perfect example: have you seen the colorful picture of a prism with the image from the cover of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album in it? It’s accompanied buy the caption: “OMG it really works! Step 1: Click on the Picture. Step 2: Hit Like. Step 3: Comment “MOVE” Then see the Magic!!” The picture has 1000’s of likes and comments, so there MUST be something to this. You make the leap, click and comment, and BOOM… crickets.
While what you expect to happen obviously doesn’t, something else happens. Your activity has now spread this image and the page into the news feed of all your friends.
It’s called Like Farming and it’s pretty ingenious, as described by Yahoo blogger Becky Worley,
“Someone creates a page and starts posting photos, inspirational quotes or other innocent content. You like the page and it now shows up regularly in your news feed. Anytime you interact with a post, that activity shows up in your friends news feeds.The more likes the page gets, the more it shows up. The more comments each picture gets, the more power the page gets in the Facebook news feed algorithm. And that makes it more and more visible.”
Some of the most effective use of pictures are those that stimulate you in some way. A good example would be the case of “Mallory.” The picture of Mallory is posted along with something similar to the following, “This is my sister Mallory. She has Down syndrome and doesn’t think she’s beautiful. Please like this photo so I can show her later that she truly is beautiful.”
That would be a wonderful sentiment if Mallory were a real person. She is not. Her name is Katie, and her mother is horrified that her daughter’s image is being used for the scam. According to Katie’s mother, over 5.5 million people have seen her picture.
Your Likes Equal Big Bucks
The only reason scammers go to such lengths to create this kind of approach is simple. There’s a lot of money to be made. There are several ways to exploit your quick response to liking things.
Once a page reaches a certain plateau, say 100,000 or so, the owner might start placing ads on the page. These ads then show up in your newsfeed and they could be links to almost anything… games, services, apps, even porn. It could be a recommendation from someone else who likes the page, most likely someone from your friends list. The recommendation is usually for something in an online store that offers commissions for links that end up in purchases. Worse of all, it could even link to malware sites.
In the end, the result is the same. Access to your newsfeed is like gold. And the price is rising.
Page For Sale
Businesses are bought and sold every day. These pages are no different. They are big business. It is no challenge to find several sites online that cater to people attempting to sell their Facebook page. This is, of course, against Facebook policy. Consequently, it’s a bit like cat and mouse. Postings come and go in an attempt to stay one step ahead of the Facebook Policy Police.
A simple Google search showed a Facebook page about cuddling with over 1,000,000 likes is up for sale. Asking price? $7,000. Another page, full of posts, is offering multiple pages for sale. I counted over 30 pages available. And this page is located ON FACEBOOK. The title of the page is “Facebook Fan Page for Sale.” How stupid can they be?
How To Unlike
If you’ve liked something and now regret it, you can unlike it. Go to your profile, choose “more” button and choose “likes” from the drop down menu – then “Unlike.”
If you have friends who are over-liking on scammy posts, share this on your Facebook Page so they’ll get the message. Better yet, share it on their page.
This post has gone mini-viral with over one quarter million people viewing it in 3 days. My website host is freaking out. Anyway, there seems to be one comment that keeps resurfacing. There are several places in Facebook that offer the “more” button. Many are trying to follow the instructions above and not finding what they need. Here is what I’ve been telling everyone in the comments:
Make sure you’re at the correct “more.” Go to your personal page, the one located at https://www.facebook.com/*yourusername*. You’ll see your banner image at the top (if you’ve added one). In the lower left of that banner you’ll see your Facebook ID pic. Next to that is your name. Directly under all this is a line of links. It will probably look something like:
There’s your “more” button. It will have a down arrow beside it. Open it up and LIKES should be about 6 down on the menu. once you get to your Likes page, you are presented with the ID pics for all of them. If you want to unlike one, hover in the upper right hand corner of the picture and another drop down menu will appear that includes the option to unlike. Good luck… I’m sure this will change before too long. That seems to be Facebook’s M.O.
Facebook is constantly rolling out changes which makes it hard to stay current on articles like this. Here is a comment from a visitor to this page with updated info that may be pertinent to some of you.
I had to go to my profile, then click the Activity button – then the new screen has likes on the left side. I couldn’t get to it the way the directions show as there have been changes to how FB works since this article was published.
Which was amazing to me, as this comment came in 4 days after the article was published. Facebook is certainly a challenge…