Attack of the Facebook fatties

Weight loss spammers are attacking my Facebook Page and millions of others. And guess what – the spammers are winning.

Does this blog make me look fat? It appears Facebook spammers think so. At least, they think I’m a big fat sucker for weight loss scams.

For the past week, weight loss spammers have been adding spammy comments to a four-month-old post on my Facebook fan page. They look like this:

fb fatty spam comments 600p.png

Clicking any of those links takes you to an essentially empty Facebook Page, which immediately redirects to this following “advertorial” (which is not actually affiliated with Women’s Health Magazine), featuring a six-minute video from Dr. Oz praising the weight loss benefits of Green Coffee Extract.

fb fatty - womenshealth fake site 600p.png

Interestingly, at the bottom of this advertorial page was something that looked like the Facebook comments field – 683 uniformly positive comments about Natural Green Coffee Extract. Must be pretty darned effective, right?

fb fatty - fake comments 600p.png

But these too are fake. There was no way to add a new comment or reply to an existing one on this page; most of the links here are essentially painted on. But the user names I checked were all linked to actual Facebook accounts, most likely either bots operated by the spammer or people whose accounts had been hijacked.

Click the back arrow to close that page, and you get one of those “are you sure you want to leave?” popup windows. Say yes, and the advertorial returns you to the barebones Facebook Page, which then reloads the advertorial – creating an endless loop.

If you’re somehow persuaded enough by fake magazine story, Dr. Oz, and the fake Facebook comments to actually click through to the coffee extract site, you end up here:

naturalgreencoffee site-600p.png

The point of all this is to separate you from your cash at the rate of $50 a month. Whether it separates you from your poochy tummy is another story. (I wouldn’t bet on it.) What’s in it for the spammers? Some $45 to $75 in affiliate payouts every time some sucker signs up for this. Which explains why in just a cursory Google search I found literally millions of other Facebook pages that had been spammed with exactly the same message.

The thing to do, of course, is to immediately report the spammy accounts that posted these links. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do this. The right way is to click the little x in the upper right corner of the comment that says “Hide as Spam.” You’ll then need to click “delete this comment” in the text that appears below, report it as abusive, and/or ban the user from commenting in the future.

hide as spam.png

The wrong way to do it is to go to the spammer’s account and try to report them. That gets you stuck in an endless loop -- essentially the same Catch 22 readers of TY4NS encountered when they tried to report a fake profile masquerading as them. All the faker has to do is block the person they’re impersonating, and there’s little they can do to stop them.

What have we learned from all this? Two things: a) there’s a sucker born every minute who thinks he can lose weight without exercising, and b) in the war between Facebook and spammers, the spammers are winning. But maybe you knew that already.

Got a question about social media? TY4NS blogger Dan Tynan may have the answer (and if not, he’ll make something up). Visit his snarky, occasionally NSFW blog eSarcasm or follow him on Twitter: @tynanwrites. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-to’s, follow ITworld onTwitter and Facebook.

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