PhotoA brand-new “Like-farming” scam page on Facebook is using the promise of a free (but nonexistent) Walt Disney World vacation and other valuable prizes to convince people to “like” and “share” their fraudulent page.

Supposedly, you can win a free Disney family vacation and other prizes, if you "like" and share various posts from a Facebook page called “Disney World.”

Right away, you can detect two signs of a potential scam. First of all, the name is wrong: the Disney-branded theme park in central Florida is called “Walt Disney World” — three words — not the two-word “Disney World.” (The one-word name “Disneyland” applies to the older park in California.)

The second scam tip-off is arguably more subtle: the scammy Facebook page's full name is “Disney World.” with a period at the end of the name, whereas real company Facebook pages rarely end in punctuation unless it's part of the official company name.

The real thing

Take a look at the real Facebook page for “Walt Disney World”: there are no periods or punctuation in the title, which features the words “Walt Disney World” above the label/description “Theme Park” (with no period).

PhotoThe page history, visible in the right margin of a non-mobile computer screen (but not in this photo), shows that the Walt Disney World page dates back to 2009. The posts, meanwhile, are typical Disney corporate public-relations items: as I type this, the most recent ones include a story boasting about new allergy-free menus in Disney parks, and videos of families having fun in said parks.

In other words, the posts on the real Walt Disney World Facebook page are all designed to convince people to visit the theme park and spend money there.

The fake

Now compare that to the scammy Facebook page for “Disney World.” The title is the two words “Disney World” followed by a period – over a label/description identifying it as a “Transport/Freight” company, not a theme park!

Photo

And the page history shows that the “Disney World.” Facebook page was only founded this year – indeed, as I type this early in the afternoon of May 14, there's only one post on the whole page: an hours-old piece of Like-farming bait promising valuable prizes to those who Like, Share and comment upon it.

Attention! We have 75 of these goody bags to be won. Each bag will contain 5 tickets for an all paid for Disney World Vacation, $2,000 in cash, a Blu-Ray DVD and some sweets.

To win Just Share & Like. (Comment to double chances)

Ends 15th May. Good luck. Like our page for winners announcements.

Uh-huh. So somebody made a post on May 14 promising, within 24 hours, to give away a total of 375 Disney-park admission tickets, $150,000 in cash and 75 oxymoronic “Blu-Ray DVDs” — and to win a share of this rich bounty, all you have to do is like and share a post – and double your chance of winning if you make a comment, too!

Five cheap bags

The photo shows five cheap gift bags with Disney-princess doilies glued to the front of each one, and white tissue paper puffing out the tops. Those gift bags, meanwhile, are displayed atop a wooden sideboard in what is obviously not a Disney theme park or even Disney's corporate headquarters, but somebody's home.

The Like-farmers even left their family photos mounted above the sideboard when they took the picture: above the gift bags and to the right you can see a little red-clad infant girl who, despite her adorableness, is probably destined to have a crummy childhood, what with her parents being dishonest like-farming scammers and all.

If you've liked, shared or commented upon this page, you should unlike, delete or otherwise undo these actions at once – and, while you're at it, take a moment to click on the “Report Photo” option and let Facebook know about this scam.

About Like-farming

Like-farming, or share-farming, is a form of Facebook scam almost as old as Facebook itself. Like-farmers start pages and fill them with content dedicated to collecting as many comments, “Likes” and “Shares” as possible in the shortest amount of time.

Since Facebook's ranking algorithms place a high value on popularity (as measured by comments, likes and/or shares), these highly liked-and-shared pages therefore have a much greater chance of appearing in people's “Feeds” and being seen by more Facebook users, which increases the odds of their getting still more comments, Likes and shares, which increases the odds of them appearing in more people's “Feeds,” and so forth.

Then, once the page has a sufficiently high popularity rating, the like-farmer either removes the original content and replaces it with something else (usually malware or scam advertising); leaves the page as is and uses it as a platform to spread malware, harvest people's marketing information or engage in other harmful activities; or outright sells the now-popular site to cybercriminals in a black market web forum.

All such actions are in complete violation of Facebook policy, of course, but con artists by definition tend not to follow the rules.

I actually fell for a few such Like-farming scams myself, when I was still relatively new to Facebook. And I never even realized it until a few weeks ago, when I went on a nostalgia-crawl through my Facebook “Activity Log” one evening and was appalled to see that back in 2010 or so, I'd allegedly “liked” or “shared” various pages advertising pseudo-scientific quack medicines, skeevy get-rich-quick schemes and similarly scammy products.

But of course I never “liked” or “shared” any such nonsense; I'd actually “liked” posts shared by various friends of mine and only later, after the page collected enough responses for a high Facebook popularity ranking, did the page owner scrub the original content and replace it with ads for scam products.


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