back to article Facebook scammers raking in $200 MEEELLION in illicit profits

A pair of Italian security researchers investigating the practice of Facebook scamming estimates that the trade brings in around $200m a year. Andrea Stroppa and Carlo De Micheli analyzed the pricing of Facebook spam on 20 black-market websites offering access to Facebook users for a price. The spammers set up fan sites and …


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  1. LarsG

    The spammers are usually 'legitimate' companies using celebs to try and entice you into buy goods.

    'Oh, my BMW is the best car ever'

    'You have just got to try this new face cream'



  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are you on Facebook ?

    Well you deserve to get scammed for being such a "look at me twat" in the first place. It's the home of wannabe reality television candidates.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Are you on Facebook ?

      To all the down voters - truth hurts doesn't it ?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Are you on Facebook ?

        Unlike worthy souls such as yourself, who do society a service by reminding people on El Reg that people who use different products than you are scum...

  3. auburnman

    I would hesitate to call them spammers or scammers - from the article I can't see what they are doing wrong. FaceBookers are following them of their own free will and marketers are paying them to post adverts. It probably violates Advertising guidelines or somesuch but if you can't tell when someone is selling you something you need to get off the internet.

    1. Acme Fixer


      I constantly see these "Lose weight by doing this One Easy Trick" type of ads. They're like a magician: you know there's gotta be a catch to it, and your curiosity gets the better of you, so you fall for the bait. Sure these spammers generate content, and they do it by stretching the truth until it is so thin it's totally transparent. Legit companies don't need to go to all the machinations of trying to get the suckers to fall for their products. If the same method was used to sell a legit product, the spammers would be branded as scammers. P. T. Barnum was right.

  4. lansalot

    "Without the fan pages Facebook would be an empty place. Tell me how many links do you see shared by your friends on your timeline everyday? You see – the answer is simple."

    I'll tell you how many I click on - fuck all. Inspirational-life-quotes, and "OMG! I can't believe she did this in front of the whole school!" can all get to fuck. So can you for spreading them, while you're at it. :-)

  5. Elmer Phud

    Bloody Vikings

    One of the Facebook groups I'm a member of keeps getting similar spam - the 'trainers' spam.

    It takes a while for Facebook to remove the account but doesn't seem to have much in the way of pattern recognition as regards the same spam resurfacing under a different account.

    "The spam posters get paid an average of $13 per post, for pages that have around 30,000 fans, up to an average of $58 to post on pages with more than 100,000 fans,"

    But no-one on the group will click on the provided link to the spammers, they may leave 'pithy' comments but not on the spammers pages, it's a tech-based group and despite pics of dodgy trainers and 'available' ladies no-one I'm aware of has ever followed through (as it were).

    1. They Said WHAT?

      Re: Bloody Vikings

      I think you've missed the point. What actually happens is that someone opens a "fan page" for say (a recent one I saw) The Minions Fan Page. All the kids and a lot of adults love the cute little pill shaped characters and flood to the fan page. There the owner of the page will set up a bogus competition to win some fan merchandise for people who follow, then like and share that post. Within days it had over 100,000 likes. Then the links arrive within the fan posts, these kids will just click on them regardless as they believe in the page. Nothing untowards happens on facebook page itself apart from a bogus competition and a lie or two.

  6. Trevor Marron

    And for a long time there was the 'Like this to win a brand new iPad" or "Apple have hundreds (thousands) of iPhone 4s handsets to give away as the iPhone 5 is out now, click 'like' for a chance to win one!"

    And the mugs click, click, click.

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  8. ZenCoder

    Philosophical Question ... Is this even Spam?

    These "spammer" has to to pay per post to use the promote option, or Facebook will make sure that out of those 100,000 posts only a small fraction will make it into the news feeds.

    You have to opt in by liking a page, and you can opt out by unliking it.

    To be successful they have to create pages with content people will like and share.

    The ultimate goal is the money they get exposing user to ads.

    Sounds pretty much like business as usual.

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