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Information Literacy: All about those Facebook ‘Like’ scam posts

You know what annoys me? Lots of stuff but playing on people’s emotions to drive traffic to your site or business is certainly one of them.  Here’s a nice expose of  the ‘like this’ scams that pepper my feeds.  And yes, even librarians are caught by them. So if you’re tempted to declare you love your daughters, neices, aunts or hate cancer, disease or war, read this and think before you click.

All about those Facebook ‘Like’ scam posts

“You know what REALLY annoys me? Facebook posts like this! Comment and see what happens to the picture

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’?

FaceBook - Like if you hate cancer

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 feed these days. Certain people and pages have edge rank 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”  . . .

Read the full post  to learn more about how your ‘likes’ are sold and monetized.

For those of you who teach information and media literacy, add this to your training. It only takes a minute or two and you’ll make a difference in the world for real beyond the slacktivism of liking a post.



Posted on: February 6, 2013, 7:00 am Category: Uncategorized

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