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Facebook EdgeRank Scamming: Only the Beginning

As I said in my post about how Facebook's Graph Search will cause a huge increase in what I called "Like Inflation" (, the more Facebook pushes toward "pay to play," the more they drive the scammers looking for a way around it.

This post is about the growing number of posts from Facebook Pages which are nothing more than Like and comment bait, and sometimes, as in the example cited, deceptively so. Expect this to increase exponentially in the race to get to the top of people's Graph Search recommendations.

HT: +Rand Fishkin on Twitter
Jesse Newhart's profile photoMark Traphagen's profile photoWilliam Johnston's profile photoJesse Wojdylo's profile photo
+Mark Traphagen I am always drawing an analogy between Google scam and FB scam. Are you also seeing that? And if so, I think FB will eventually find a way to battle scam if they want to preserve good experience with their platform.
+Sergey Andrianov one could only hope, but they have shown no inclination so far to deal with these kinds of posts. Their own documentation on increasing your audience on Facebook recommends posting interesting images that encourage people to Like and comment on them. And how would they get their algo to recognize the very subtle difference between a post that people Like or comment on naturally because it's truly worthwhile, and one like the example in this post which tricks people into doing that, but appears in every way "natural"? 

Facebook hasn't even made a dent in dealing with apps that phish for and misuse people's private info in exchange for signing up for the app. 
 They (FB) brought it on themselves. For years they held out the promise of massive revenue to investors while coming up with little in the concrete implementation other than amassing more and more users who like to share pictures of cats and food and superficial comparisons between each other – but I digress. Now that the unpleasant truth of the real value of the company is revealed in their flagging stock price where the "good news" is "Facebook stock bounces back to $30" They have to deliver something to the investors and they had to do it fast. Unfortunately this is not an optimal approach to monetization of the most superficial and advertising resistant audience in the history of earth.

 Facebook now serves as a classic example of bigger is not always better.
Actually, +Mark Traphagen  this article  just helped me realize that FB's EdgeRank already has the anti-spam tools build-in that eventually will be on the tip of end-user minds. What we all have to do as good marketers is educate educate educate the end users.

Knowing FB love of money, I am fairly sure FB will take part in educating users about spam control too. After all - less spam = more money for FB.
You are way more optimistic about both Facebook and the average user (and the power of mass education) than I am +Sergey Andrianov. After much pressure and bad publicity, Facebook finally made large efforts to educate their users about the privacy settings. The result? Studies and surveys show that the average FB user, even after exposure to information about privacy, does nothing. People can't be bothered with changing settings. They just want to tune into their Facebook news feed and be entertained.

And where are these "built-in anti-spam tools" you speak of? Posts like the one in the article are more and more frequent on FB, and tens of thousands of people still click on them and like and comment in hopes of getting what the posts promises. And FB does nothing.

Another recent example was the "Get two free passes from Southwest Airlines" scam that I saw being shared all over FB for several weeks. It led you to either enter your email address on a site that was made to look like it was SW's (but wasn't - classic phishing technique) or you were led to sign up for an endless series of "surveys" (for which the scammer gets a commision for every person who does it).
+Sergey Andrianov I tend to agree I think Facebook is going to throw every bit of expertise they have at the problem. The will have to protect their "pay to play" income stream.
 I set up a bit of tracking on my active rain blog and I get bursts of traffic around the clock based on this Facebook annoyance of "click like wait, see what happens" it is so prevalent that it drives daily traffic to a post I wrote back in August with a bemused observation of the rampant stupidity of this ploy on Facebook. I don't really mean to be derogatory toward Facebook users, after all, "I are one" but why do hundreds of thousands fall for the simplest ruses on Facebook?
+Dave Keys I think it's because when people are on Facebook, they are in "entertain me" mode, and their critical thinking skills (assuming they have any) get turned off.
The anticipated 'Like' deluge is here.
+Mark Traphagen I know why exactly I am optimistic. Because I am using those controls after getting fed up with "Oh, if you feel sorry for this dude (or dog), press Like. If you ignore it, you are heartless". This is scam and it makes me feel bad in life - I said to myself and started taking actions. The result - I am seeing less scam in my feed. 

About privacy, you know, we all think something is not going to happen to us until it happens. And when it happens, we react. So it's just a matter of those not concerned about their privacy to get into a situation where they suffer from their own carelessness. 

After all Mark, how many times did my parents tell me "don't walk under a step ladder"? I thought they were superstitious until a screw-driver fell on my head. And even then I didn't learn. Then I got a drill fall on my head. So then I learned that walking under is equally bad to putting tools on a stepladder :-) 
+Peter du Toit , Mark has a point though. It's the masses that are so slow to react. But like I said, people are getting fed up with scam and they will start actively looking for ways to get the spam out of their lives. 
+Sergey Andrianov I totally believe and accept that you hit the spam report button, and you change your privacy settings. So do I. My point is that you and I are the exception rather than the rule. The masses don't think about this stuff like we do. They almost expect to be taken every so often. It's just what happens in life, right? 

I have given up trying to educate my FB friends about why they keep getting their accounts hijacked. I used to take the time to write long comments explaining to them explaining how it happened and how to prevent it in the future. 

Then two weeks later I'd see the same person, hacked again.
+Mark Traphagen I have never had my FB page hack ed and never hope I do. I do hear about it all the time, but would be curious if you have an article I can read that explains why it happens and how to keep it from happening. I guess I'm either lucky or doing something right on that one? 
+Mark Traphagen there will always be that kind of people :-) So in the end, those brands will have to deal with those people as their user and customer base. I think this is the most evil punishment they can have for spamming their way to disaster!
What I am optimistic about on FB really, is our way of doing things there :-) I am a big believer that ethical approach in marketing will be rewarded equally well on FB and on Google. One thing for sure - ethical ways on FB will be rewarded much later while the same attitude on Google is being rewarded already. But I think long term. 
This is a good start:

My main tip is if you click on something and then it asks you to give over any personal info (like an email address or phone number) or require you to do something additional (like do a survey or accept a "free trial" of a product) RUN AWAY. As long as you don't go any further, it's likely no harm has been done.
+Sergey Andrianov NOW we agree without reservation!

The ultimate punishment on the EdgeRank and Like scammers (or any marketing scammers) is that they will only ever get the valueless followers they deserve.
I'd love to shake your hand here Mark!
That's what I admire about Google+ and the network of people who keep it running! I can't imagine myself having these kinds of conversations on FB :-)
You can tell +Jesse Wojdylo is playing golf today. I posted something critical of Facebook, and he wasn't here in under two minutes to let us all know he told us so months ago ;-)
haha ----------------- Sounds like  hakem when I post critical  of obama 
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