We've all seen Facebook posts like that. Wouldn't it be great to have cure for cancer or put and end to world hunger by pushing the “like” button? It's simplistic nonsense. Of course it won’t cure cancer or perform any other miracle. It's a scam. Here is how it works.

A page is created. It will have some message that tugs at the heart strings or some cutesy, humorous message. There can be a dark side to this. The images can often be stolen from real people and appropriated and repurposed without permission. This happened to a young girl with Downs Syndrome called Katie.

“A 'cyber impersonator' took the photo without permission, renamed Katie as 'Mallory' and used it to get millions of Facebook 'likes'.
You may have seen the photo of a smiling girl with Down syndrome, and the caption: "This is my sister Mallory. She has Down syndrome and doesn't think she's beautiful. Please like this photo so I can show her later that she truly is beautiful".
Read more:http://www.news.com.au/technology/facebook-stole-my-disabled-daughters-i...

This is then pumped up and released on to Facebook. The page is picked up and people like the post thinking it is something entirely innocent. The number “likes” increases as the page is picked up by friends in different circles. Before we know it, the scam has spread taking in thousands, sometimes millions of people. The exploitation of Katie gained 3.5 million “likes”.

These scammers farm “likes” and then sell them off to people who want more “likes” on their Facebook page.

There are 2 lessons:

  1. Be wary of those heart warming pages that demand to be liked. If you are really keen on beating cancer, there are plenty of charities to give to.
  2. Don't buy “likes” if you want to keep your credibility. Do it the old fashioned way. Work. Interact with you audience and build up people who will interact with you.