Hoaxes and Scams


There seems to have been a spate of fake contests on Facebook recently, the ones where you can win first class air tickets and spending money just by Liking, Sharing and Commenting on a photo, you might also have seen the iPhone one with ‘unsealed boxes’. Unfortunately these are not real contests and are called ‘Like-Farming’.

Like-farming is a practice undertaken by scammers, they follow these steps:

  1. They create a new Page that looks like a well-known product or company, using images they have taken from that company to make them look ‘real’.
  2. They start posting fake contests on their Page, getting people to Like and Share them.
  3. They start to build up Likes on the fake Page.
  4. They sell the Page to a scammer who either adds malware or spam onto the Page, thus filling your newsfeed with ads, or loading software onto your computer that you are unaware of, or hacking into your profile and posting to your Timeline, Groups and Pages you manage.

Scam Post

The more Likes these fake Pages get, the more valuable they are to the scammers to purchase.

So how do you tell if the Page is fake or real?

  • Generally, if it seems too good to be true it probably is! Most companies don’t give away thousands of dollars of prizes for only Liking and Sharing a Post.
  • Go to the Page, see how many Likes it has, a well-known company will have a large number of Likes (for example, Air New Zealand’s official Page has over 1,100,000 Likes).
  • Have look at the Page – what kind of things are they posting? Is it only contests or are there no contests but plenty of other items?
  • When did they join Facebook? Is it a recent Page?
  • Is the About section completed with email address, full descriptions and other links? (not just the website)
  • Is there an extra ‘.’ Or word the airline don’t usually use in the name of the Page?
  • Have they created a Facebook URL? If so, is it the obvious choice or have they added extra words or letters?

If in doubt – don’t share!

Click-baiting is a little less sinister, but still a ploy to try and get around Facebook’s algorithm. As we know, Facebook ‘rewards’ good content, measured by the number of Likes, Comments and Shares a Post gets, by showing it to more people. The appropriate way to use this is to post content that make people want to discuss and comment on your post, not to emotionally blackmail people into it, or give them an easy IQ test, like “Give a dog’s name without the letter A in it. Bet you can’t!” (Rover is an obvious answer!). By Liking and Sharing these click-bait pictures you are buying into the thought that your content isn’t worthwhile or valuable, as well as opening yourself up to Facebook’s scrutiny and possible removals of all your posts from people’s newsfeeds.

Emotional Blackmail

There are no shortcuts to increasing your reach, you need to work diligently, regularly post valuable content, and build a relationship with your customers.


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