SHOCKER: Something All Facebook Users Should Know


“Anyone else getting sick of these daft posts?” my “friend” Chardon asked. This was on Facebook a while back. That’s why I put “friend” in quotation marks. She was talking about an annoying trend: posts showing up on Facebook news feeds, saying something like, “Name a city without an ‘R’ in it. It’s harder than it looks!”

It’s not hard, of course. Ouagadougou, Vilnius, Montevideo all leap to mind. And Budge Budge in India. I’m sure there are others. So what’s the deal? Why go to the trouble of posting such an easy puzzle on Facebook?

Daylan Pearce, a self-described “search nerd” with Australia’s Next Digital, recently exposed how this works. It’s called “like farming.” A Facebook page is created, with an appeal for readers to like, comment or share. The creators, who are working together to build these pages, share it among themselves. They all have big networks, so the pages instantly get into thousands of other people’s news feeds. When those people respond with a “like” or a share, then it reaches their friends. Suddenly, the thing has spread faster than a high school rumour.

Then what? Then the people who started it, having quickly acquired tens of thousands of followers, sell the page. Now an advertiser has all those names and Facebook addresses. And that advertiser, who isn’t allowed to phone you and whose flyers go straight to your recycling box, is sending you commercial messages on Facebook.
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