“Like Farming” on Facebook used to expose you to malicious ads and downloads

Scammers are posting innocuous posts on Facebook designed to “go viral”. Such posts usually appeal to your emotions, condemn some outrageous example of government bureaucracy, or ask if you can solve some problem that others perhaps cannot. All are using your fast acting System 1 thinking mode to get you to like and share. Remember: Liking and sharing are virtually the same thing on Facebook – both result in the post being shared into your time line for your friends to see.

While Facebook has some measures to try and detect spam, the scammers start out innocently. Once the post has been shared enough times, they go back and edit the original to include advertising, links and potentially malicious downloads.

Recommendation is to only click on “Like” for posts of original content from your friends (not shared since they may be spreading spam inadvertently) or from organizations that whose FB page or group you belong to. Others should be treated as potential scams.

From Don’t Click Like on Facebook until your read this

Note the use of standard propaganda methods to grab your attention, particularly the appeal to a quick emotional response. This is the same method used, especially, for certain types of political propaganda posters on social media.


Thinking Fast and Slow author Kahneman, and creator of the “System 1 and System 2” thinking concept acknowledges that 11 of 12 studies cited in his chapter on “priming” were from weak studies. That chapter implied that “subtle cues in their environment can have strong effects on their behavior outside their awareness“. This does not mean his conclusions are wrong but that the evidence supporting his conclusions may be weak on the subject of “priming”. This acknowledgement is independent of the System 1/System 2 thinking style issues.