Like-Jacking is the trick where users are tricked into clicking “like” via the like button being hidden behind an image. Often, spammers will say “To prove you’re human, click on the red button and blue button” or something along those lines. These misleading tactics have increasingly been used on Facebook Pages.
Hidden behind one image is the like button and behind the other is the share button. Users who fall for that inadvertently broadcast their endorsement to all their friends. Name your page something provocative (This guy went way too far with his girlfriend, Cops don’t want to you see this video, You’ll never eat at KFC again, etc…) and you’ll have enough plausibility to go viral.
The example deconstructed here went from 80,000 likes to 110,000 likes in a matter of 3-4 hours. There are others, as this code is readily available to anyone who wishes to spam. It’s even reasonably well-commented. We’ve seen these Like-Jackers get a few hundred thousand likes in a couple days, until finally Facebook shuts it down. In a recent panel discussion, Matt Kelly of Facebook acknowledges this technique and how it’s against the Facebook Terms of Service.
As you can see from this 5 step process, users must click a button to enable loading of an iframe into the tab, and then are tricked into clicking on buttons that have opaque like buttons hidden directly beneath them. We’ve modified the code to reveal the like button hidden behind the opaque shape.
So if you ever see a page asking you to “prove” or “verify” something, just don’t do it. What’s even more evil is that the like button can be hidden behind anything that exists off Facebook– it’s not just on Facebook pages. Any image on the web can potentially have a like button hidden behind it. This is the primary technique behind the rise of like farms.
Facebook has told us that they’re working on a solution for this– relying on algorithmic and user-initiated actions. Certainly they have the data to be able to tell when viral growth is legitimate vs via an under-handed technique. They can simply look at how many users are participating in the discussion, using Post Quality Score and EdgeRank to see what proportion of users are interacting. Too low and it’s clear sign of inadvertent liking.
Dennis Yu has helped brands grow and measure their Facebook presences. He has spoken at Search Marketing Expo, Search Engine Strategies, Web 2.0, The American Marketing Association, PubCon, Conversational Commerce Conference, Pacific Conferences, HostingCon, Affiliate Summit, Affiliate Convention, UltraLight Startups, MIVA Merchant, and other venues. Yu has also counseled the Federal Trade Commission on privacy issues for social networks. Yu has held leadership positions at Yahoo and American Airlines. His educational background is finance and economics from Southern Methodist University and London School of Economics. He does not condone like-jacking or other such techniques, nor practice such methods. If you have questions about Facebook advertising, you can reach Dennis at firstname.lastname@example.org.