Many of you may not be familiar with the term “Facebook farming”, but we have all seen Facebook postings urging us to click that we “like” them. Sometimes it is an emotional appeal to show support for a sick child. Sometimes it is to show support for a political message. Often what appears to be a familiar company promises a chance at a substantial prize merely for liking or sharing a post.
While some of the postings described above urging people to click on links or share the posting are legitimate, unfortunately often they are not. Often they are done to take advantage of Facebook’s algorithms that value the popularity measured by likes and shares which causes the posts to appear on the Facebook pages of more people. Although the original content liked or shared may appear sincere or entertaining, the scammers who use this technique, which is called “farming,” then are able to change the content of the post to something entirely different from what was originally shared or liked. This is done for purposes of sending advertising or gathering marketing information, but, at its worst, it also can be used to send malware infected content such as keystroke logging malware that can steal personal information from your computer and use it to make you a victim of identity theft.
So what should you do?
Posts that promise some sort of prize for sharing or liking their post are most likely scams. If you think that the posting of a company offering a contest might be legitimate, you should go to the company’s website to find out if indeed it is legitimate or not.
As for the other farming scams, you may wish to be a bit skeptical before automatically sharing or liking a post. You may wish to even do a little research yourself to find out if the posting is legitimate. A 2007 photo of a seven year old Pennsylvania girl with Stage IV cancer posing in her cheerleading uniform has been used numerous times for Facebook farming. Today that girl is a cancer free young woman whose family is understandably outraged that their daughter’s photograph has been abused by scammers through Facebook farming.
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