“Like” Harvesting: What is it? Why does it matter?

facebook LikeWe have all seen facebook posts similar to the one with a cute little girl holding a sign that reads “My dad said that if I get a million ‘likes’ he will buy me a puppy.” While these posts appear innocent, they rarely are. Most of these posts are intended to gain enough “likes” to raise Facebook’s score for the page associated with the post. The higher score these pages have gained allows these pages to have much broader distribution when they post the subsequent advertising; sometimes these pages are offered for sale to other advertisers looking for the broad distribution of their adds (even though this is prohibited by facebook’s policies). Realize that most of the time you are not helping a little girl get a puppy,¬† encouraging a child with cancer that people care for him, or encouraging a handicap person to run a marathon; you are allowing yourself to be targeted with advertising you almost certainly did not want. While participation in a “like” harvesting scheme will result in nothing more than receiving annoying (and possibly offensive) ads, other internet SCAMS can have much more severe consequences.¬†Always realize that there just may be malicious motives behind the seemingly innocent requests you receive. In the anonymous world of the Internet, it is always best to approach requests from those you do not personally know with a great deal of suspicion.