The latest Facebook Grift is stealing 'Interest' pages about celebrities and books to reap ad revenue

A few days ago, users saw content from J.K. Rowling’s Facebook page appearing on their News Feed. What was surprising that the users who saw the posts claimed never to like or follow the author’s page.

Upon investigation, it was revealed that the page was created just a few days ago as well and had the profile picture of former Disney actor Bella Thorne rather than the author of the Harry Potter series.

So did the page belong to Bella Thorne who was impersonating Rowling instead?

No!

The fake page was the work of a spammer who took hold of Facebook pages in order to harvest advertising dollars.

The fake page of the author came to existence on April 29 and managed to garner more than 1 million fans within a day – thanks to the spammer’s deviously clever techniques of stealing unclaimed interests pages and using them to make money.

In fact, more than 100 interest pages auto-generated by Facebook were found to be used illicitly by crooks, noted BuzzFeed News. These ranged in different categories including celebrity pages, books, films, religions, and generic interests. When Facebook was notified of the problem, the social media giant removed 21 such pages – as of this writing.

Scammers Are Stealing Huge Celebrity Facebook Pages To Reap Advertising Dollars

The existence of this fraud and the ‘bad actor's’ ability to steal pages that are auto-generated by Facebook itself show how the leading social network continues to be exploited through different means.

Initially, the company claimed that the issue was a result of some ‘bug’, which they are working to patch. However, they refused to give further details about the bug and how it worked to compromise the pages.

Nevertheless, it clearly shows Facebook’s inability to detect spam beforehand compromising the safety and privacy of millions of users.


The stolen pages included those with a large fan base. This includes the ‘love’ page with 6 million fans, a Johnny Depp fan with over 4 million fans, and a page exclusively for Christians with half a million followers. Pages for notable figures including the Prophet Muhammad and Mozart were also included in the spam list.

Unfortunately, pages such as those for Islam were quickly infested with anti-Muslim comments and posts.

The hijackers also earned money from Facebook through the video ads. However, the company did not reveal much information about the monetization method used by the spammers.

BuzzFeed News tried to contact several of these pages as well but did not receive a reply.

Users who detected the issue also posted reviews and cautionary comments on the stolen pages to notify other users. In fact, members started unliking the page after they found out the real motives behind the celebrity pages.

Read next: Get Ready Apple Pay! Facebook is soon bringing a competitor for you!

No comments:

Post a Comment