Recently I saw a page that was promoting a camper giveaway. In order to enter a drawing to win one of 17 surplus 38 foot campers (sleeps 7!! All NEW appliances!!!!!) all I had to do was “like” the page, comment on the post, and share the post. Three easy steps to enter to win a camper. (Valued at $15,000!!!!!!!!)
Sounds great, right? It seems pretty harmless, too. You probably won’t win, but maybe you will. It’s fun to dream, anyway.
The problem is that these pages are typically scammers, or Facebook “like” farmers. They’re after a lot of “likes”, so they promote this prize in order to get them – you have to “like” the page to enter, remember? When they have a big following, they’ll scrub the page and use it to promote what they’re really doing, whatever that maybe. It’s a way of get to around Facebook policies.
And unfortunately, my research indicates these types of things are often done by people trying to steal your personal information or infect your computer. Think about it. You’ve “liked” a page, so now you see their posts in your news feed. You might see a post from them that sounds interesting, so you click it. Maybe it’s a partial image that you need to open the link to see the whole thing, or a link to a video. How many times do you click links while browsing Facebook?
Here are some ways to keep yourself safe:
Don’t click links you don’t trust
Don’t just share posts because they tell you to. A post saying that “this little girl has cancer, I bet she can’t even get one like or share or amen” is only there to guilt trip you, and get more engagement with the post and page. (Furthermore, I know at least one of these that was circulating was an image stolen from a family and used without their consent.) The “This little boy in Africa hasn’t eaten in two days” is another. It’s most likely true, but it’s possibly there for malicious purposes. If you really want to help, find someone in your area who could use the support, instead of sharing these posts. Or, donate to a trust-worthy organization to help those in need.
Check the page history
If it’s a brand new page; if they have no real information about themselves; or if they have a ton of followers and very few posts, I would question it.
Check the sources
Clickbait articles are another form of “like farming”. It gives you a tantalizing sentence, but you have to click the link to see the rest of the story. This gets the webpage more hits, which is good for a number of different reasons.
What to look for
And now, because I can, I’ll tell you the things I look for before I share a post.
I want the content all on Facebook. I will share blog posts and such, directly from the site to my wall, but if I’m sharing from a page I don’t know, I try to make sure the content is all visible without clicking any links. (This doesn’t include Facebook’s * …Continue Reading… * that shows up on long posts, and probably showed up on this one. That is for the purpose of keeping your news feed tidy, so you’re not bogged down with scrolling by mile-long posts that you don’t even want to read.)
I try to make sure the stuff I share is from from valid sources. I’m an Indie author – one of the things that means is that I do all the promotion for my book, myself. I have a Facebook page. I have a blog. I share stuff from both of those, as well as from other Indie authors. But before I share posts from other pages, I check the source. Yes, this is a valid page with a three year history, etc. All good.
There are valid giveaways! I ran one last month, and yes, because I reached 100 ‘likes’ on my Facebook page. Checking the sources is important, because the internet is a great place for less than savoury types of people to try to steal information or money.
The internet can be tricky waters to navigate. I’m not saying to never enter giveaways or share posts on Facebook. I’m just bringing attention to some of the newer and less well-known scams that are going on.
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