In the beginning, when email was still a novelty and politicians were still decent, we used to receive chain mails. And if you did not send this spam on you would never become lucky in love, find happiness, or something else that was very, very bad would happen. I for one, thought that I would be released from such messages with the evolutions of my spam filter, only to see similar messages pop up like zits on a teenagers face on my Facebook news-feed. I love my mom, and I am against cancer, but should I Like?
The answer is no. The new era in spamming and scamming is called ‘Like-Farming’, and that is exactly what most of these images and pages attempt to do. The posts and images often contain statements that you have to agree to, or that appeal to your emotional side. Because is there anyone who loves cancer, or who doesn’t want to help a disabled girl believe that she is pretty?
What actually happens to your Like
Often there are no visible effects of a Like or share of such spam, other than it appearing on your wall and in your friends news-feed. But there are invisible effects that are not as benign as you would expect. What happens is that the more Likes an image or page gets on Facebook, the more priority it is given in the newsfeed of you friends, and since everyone loves kittens (at least publicly), the amount of Likes grow. As soon as the spammers achieve a certain amount of likes, they are able to ‘harvest’ your personal information and preferences.
Why be careful what you Like
Now, we all know that personal information online not only means real money, but personal information can also be used as tools for scammers to steal your identity. And even though Like-Farming is very much against Facebook policy, the people behind it move too fast for Facebook to remove all the pages instantly: often the damage is already done.
Don’t give spammers the chance
We cannot stress enough how important it is to protect your personal information online, and thus also crucial to protect and beware of your Likes. Many Facebook users are not aware of the amount of information they are actually volunteering by clicking that one button, so become aware. And use 123people’s Social Network Monitor to help you review and rethink the pages you have Liked.