Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Do you really "Like" it?

Complaints about advertising on Facebook aren't new. Neither are the complaints about the type of advertising being shown. Some are outraged and what appears on their timeline because it's so unrelated to the type of things they like.

I mean, does anyone really like "Spamlamdex Quick'n'Easy Hair Removal"?  So I made that one up, but it isn't too far fetched if what this article describes is true: Facing Up To Facebook Scams

It's apparently called "Like farming". I'll paraphrase what the article says:
  1. Your friend "likes" a photo, for whatever reason (we'll get into the reasons in a moment)
  2. You see that they liked it and you decide to like it too.
  3. The photo goes viral and receives tens of thousands of "Likes".
  4. The person who posted the photo sells the group the photo was posted in to some shady product/brand.
  5. That product/brand now has a group with thousands of likes on one of their photos, and in return — because you "Liked" their photo — they can share their advertising with you on your timeline.
Shady, low, sneaky, evil... but genius.

What kinds of images are we talking about?

The linked article mentions images with "Name a city without an 'R' in it. It's harder than it looks!", "'Like' if you hate cancer.", "'Like' if you hate bullying.", "If I get enough 'likes,' my dad will quit drugs."

Others that come to mind are "How many squares in this picture?", "Type (some word) in the comments to see what happens next!", and any mathematical equation images like "4+1x0+2=?".

There are hundreds of groups that consist of nothing but funny pictures. Humourous greeting cards. Cute kitten pics. Inspirational sayings. Funny quotes.

It wouldn't surprise me if many of those exist for this very reason.

If you Google "Like farming" you 'll find other similar articles about it.

The way I see it, unless your friend actually uploaded that image you Liked, expect the unexpected to appear on your timeline.

You can probably minimize the like-related ads by going into your Likes on Facebook and cleaning them up, "Unlike" anything that looks suspicious or that you don't remember liking.

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