Meme Pages Begin Weaponizing Viral Videos To Create Rogue Clickfarms on Facebook
Sponsored ads appear on Facebook feeds hundreds of thousands of times a day. They are an integral part of the Facebook experience.
One of the most common Facebook ad formats is a called a carousel, a swipeable album of 3–5 photos presented along with a click-through link, which usually leads to the advertisers’ website. This format has long been exclusive to Sponsored Facebook posts.
Interestingly, meme pages on Facebook have begun to weaponize the carousel format in order to create monetized click farms for YouTube video views, spam links, and other nefarious sponsored content.
Generally, when a Facebook user clicks on a viral video, the Facebook app will load that single clip into a full screen video player with other viral videos appearing when scrolling below, like so:
An increasing number of Facebook meme pages have begun to weaponize the carousel format, by including a website which loads when a viral video is tapped for viewing. This interaction mechanic is subversive, allowing the page to profit off of content it might not own, and sending the user to a YouTube video or spam site without their consent.
This allows Facebook pages with large followings to monetize viral content via dubious third parties. These pages have begun to exploit their audiences in order to create a click farm.
Here are some examples from my feed, and I am curious if you have seen this mechanic in yours.
You can analyze the data and the spread of any coordinated imagery here: https://www.maltego.com/blog/mapping-visual-disinformation-campaigns-with-maltego-and-tineye/