There’s no question that social media is addictive, and seeing likes and comments rack up on your posts can be exciting. Can you be sure, though, that those commenting on your post are real people?
Last week, we posted on Facebook that our January Social Media and Content 1-Day Masterclass had sold out (space is still available on our April one, incidentally!). Within an hour of the post, no fewer than six accounts had replied claiming they had spare tickets they wanted to sell or exchange.
This seemed peculiar to us, as we knew who was signed up to the workshop and didn’t recognise any of the names of people commenting. Also, while our workshops are popular, they’re not really the sort of large-scale events that would see this sort of scramble for tickets within an hour of a “sold out” announcement.
You’ll have guessed by now that these aren’t genuine comments or even genuine people. They’re bots set up to target and respond to posts containing certain keywords like “sold out” and “tickets for sale”.
What are the giveaways?
It has to be said, it’s often the names of the people commenting that give them away. I’ve noticed that with a lot of this kind of spam coming from non-English countries, the people orchestrating it don’t always grasp how English first names and surnames work, nor whether the names they are using are typically male or female. Thus, they create a name simply by putting two common first names together.
Of course, there are many English first names that are also common surnames. Names like Ross, Charles, Nicholas and Kelly are examples of this, but other sound more questionable. One “person” who commented on our post had the name “Craig Elizabeth”, which seemed dubious – especially since the profile picture showed a woman!
If the comments are setting off alarm bells, you could try searching for a segment of the comments on Facebook, then filtering on ‘Posts’ to see if they are being said anywhere else. I did that with the first sentence of the third comment, and sure enough, the same comment is appearing word for word all over Facebook.
In fact, it seems thousands of people also have spare tickets going for artists like Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, and the awesome Canadian dream-pop band Alvvays, and strangely enough they’re all using the exact same words to tell us this.
Why doesn’t Facebook do anything about it?
You tell us! It’s not hard to work out that these comments are appearing all over Facebook, as we’ve shown with some pretty basic detective work. It would be easy for Facebook to nip it in the bud, but it doesn’t. Presumably, Facebook doesn’t care that modest events like ours are being made to look like everyone wants to get rid of their ticket. Worse still, for major concerts, anyone who falls for this trick risks leaking their personal data and being ripped off for non-existent tickets.
Facebook should care though, because with Meta experiencing a drop in advertising sales for the first time last year, and Facebook dropping to eighth place in the most downloaded apps of 2022, there are signs that people are growing just a little weary of the social media site. This sort of carry-on, along with Facebook’s reluctance to do anything about it, might give some clues as to why.
Nonetheless, Facebook Ads remains a valuable way to reach your target audience and gain an excellent return on your investment. For help with social media and content development, speak to us at Engage Web today.