You know what annoys me? People who stand still on escalators.
You know what REALLY annoys me?
Facebook posts like this!
Not a day goes by that I don’t login to see one of these posts. And they always seem to have a bazillion (no exaggeration) likes, comments or shares.
Nearly 5000 people figured this would work. [see left]
5000 people figured typing a word into the comment field would make ‘something’ happen.
Hint: Nothing happened.
These posts infuriate me.
And it’s not just the fact they are polluting my newsfeed with rubbish and distracting me from the stuff I wanna see, like my friends sharing their thoughts on TV shows, photos of food or jokes they’ve stolen from Reddit. It’s the unashamed use of terrible circumstances like cancer, or sick kids or horrific accidents that these pages usually use to get clicks that really pisses me off.
But why do these pages exist?
What are the benefits of posting a picture with a quote like ‘Like if you hate cancer, ignore if you don’t’?
To get to a proper answer to that question, you have to get a little nerdy. It’s all about the Facebook Like algorithm. The secret formula that makes activities such as sharing, commenting and liking a post such a valuable commodity.
The Facebook Like algorithm is Facebook’s way of dictating if content is of any value to users. The more likes/shares/comments it gets, the more exposure to certain people it, and the profile it belongs to, will get both short term and long term.
All these metrics contribute to a users ‘EdgeRank’ – the score your profile is given that dictates how your page interacts with other profiles on Facebook. The greater a page/profiles edge rank is, the more it will be exposed in people’s newsfeed. EdgeRank is the reason you see a lot of rubbish in your Facebook newsfeed these days. Certain people and pages have EdgeRank factors that Facebook have decided are relevant to you.
So back to the original issue: Why do these pages exist?
A: Because there is money to be made from it.
Businesses worldwide are trying to figure out how to best utilise platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus (haha, na I’m just kidding about Google Plus). They know that EdgeRank, likes, brand exposure and followers are important, even if they don’t know exactly why or what to do with it. But the problem is, building up these audiences and edge rank is a time consuming and often difficult task. And because of the time and effort required, this occurs :
Structure of a Facebook scam
- A page is created.
- This page put out a constant stream of heart wrenching and/or mildly amusing images that are shared publicly with a call to action to click, share or comment.
- These posts are initially shared by a big group of people all in the same network who have all built up their edge rank over a period of time that then results in the posts eventually leaking into the newsfeeds of real-life accounts.
- These people share, like or comment which then spreads.
- Eventually a friend of yours hits that little thumbs up button
- It’s in your newsfeed.
And within 3 days a post like this one has 70,000 likes, and someone somewhere is about to make a nice little profit by selling the page to a business wanting some quick wins.
The buyer then changes some of the page details. BAM! Instant fanpage with a big following, lots of likes and an in depth edge rank, capable of pushing out content to a pre-built list of thousands of Facebook users. (edit: Page name cannot be altered after 200 likes, just details of the page).
So, that’s it. I’m sure you knew it already, but these things are dodgy. Where there is profit to be made, there will be people who will figure out a way to game the system. This is one of the games. Best way to stop this stuff from occurring is to not promote this rubbish.
Pro tip: If you do see a post about sick kids with rare cancer who lost all their family to a horrible house fire and if you don’t like it then 100 more children will get cancer from terrorists – it’s not real. Don’t click on it.
Share this post within 10 seconds if you agree!
Don’t share and you will get AIDS.