How YOU are Contributing to Facebook SpamAnita Kirkbride
This post is for all the people who share the pictures of luxury cars, vacations and iphones in the hopes they will win one. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE! YOU are helping create more Facebook spam. YES. YOU. ARE.
I thought it might be a hoax, but what harm could it do?
Otherwise known as “I’d rather take a chance than miss out”. Really? You’d rather share potential spam with your friends than miss out on a new car? Ok… in retrospect, if the contest were real, I would totally share, too. I have been known to participate in Facebook and Twitter contests requiring sharing. Seeing this comment from friends once too many times after I’ve told them it’s a scam, inspired me to write this blog post.
Here’s the thing. When you share these fake posts, pictures and contests you are empowering the scammers to create more fake posts, pictures and contests. It’s a vicious circle. The more you share, the more people they will reach. The more people they reach, the more people who share. The more people who share, the more legitimate the contest appears. The more legit the contest appears, the more people who share. And on. And on. And on. Recurrent, persistent and unending spam is not, to me, harmless.
Why do scammers create these fake contests?
I’m sure there are many other reasons, but the big one is money. A scammer will create a page, using these highly engaging and popular contests, to get lots of new fans on the Page. Once they have a good number of fans they can then sell the Page to another business. Who would actually buy such a Page, created by scamming people into Liking a Page? I’m not really sure, but I’m told this is the game they’re playing. Build a huge fanbase on a Page. Sell it to the highest bidder. Change the name and voila. Alternatively, they could be doing it simply to show off how many people they can get to share, Like or participate in a contest. Either way, participating in it “just in case it’s legit” only serves to perpetuate the problem. Here’s another explanation by AllFacebook.com.
Top Signs a Facebook Contest is Fake
These fake Facebook contests are actually quite easy to spot and it only takes a couple of clicks!
- Check out the name of the Page that shared the original photo/contest. Are there extra characters in the Page name or the Page’s Facebook.com/url? i.e. is the contest being shared by Facebook.com/”BMW.Contests”? If BMW is going to give away a car, I’m pretty sure they would do it on their official BMW Facebook Page. Heck, some of the most obvious ones are simply called “Contests”, or “Competitions”, not even pretending to be associated with the brand they are giving away.
- Still not sure if this is a legitimate business Page? If there are no extra words or characters in the Page name or url, check out the Page’s Timeline. Are there lots of posts there or just the one about this contest? If all the Page has ever done is posted about giving away a car, a phone or a vacation, it’s a scam.
- You can also check out when the Facebook Page was created. A Page that is created by a major brand, such as Ford Mustang, should have been around for a while before giving away a huge prize. When you look at the list of years on the right hand side of the brand Page, if you see “Joined Facebook” and the date is two days ago, this is a scam contest.
- Facebook recently introduced “verified Pages”, which are denoted by a small blue and white check mark both on the cover photo of the page (beside the company name), and in the search listings beside the name. Be aware that a good graphic designer can easily add the verified symbol to the cover photo so that it appears in the right spot, but they cannot fake the blue check mark in the actual search listings.
Bottom line… if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Yes car manufacturers give away cars occasionally, but they’re probably going to require a little more than a comment on a picture about which colour you’d choose for you to win it. Let’s all band together to stop the spread of Facebook spam!