Last week, I was asked by @tjmanotoc to do a TV interview about those fake Facebook videos. The interview was aired on TV Patrol, Bandila and another Studio 23 report. Since the clip was very short, I thought of doing a longer and more detailed explanation of the case here.
The recent incident involving Vhong Navarro and Deniece Cornejo/Cedric Lee brought out a lot of opportunity to spread more of these deceptive or fake videos on YouTube.
The whole idea on why videos like these become viral even if they are not real is that a significant number of Facebook users almost immediately share links, click on Like and re-posts them even before watching the actual videos (sometimes, they just blindly share without watching at all).
So here’s the whole strategy.
1) Create a generic Facebook fan page — something like Funny Facebook Videos, and started adding people up. To get more fans on the page, you either randomly request for friends and then suggest that they Like your fan page. I’m sure a lot of you are getting those requests everyday.
2) Start peppering your FB page with re-hash videos from all over the place — 9Gag, Vimeo, Reddit and even the most watched videos on YouTube just to get the ball rolling. If you’re good, you could get a few thousands; if you’re lucky, and update every so often, the Likes to rack up to tens of thousands.
There are also pre-existing seeder FB Pages that have been around for years. These are the ones that got past the Facebook restrictions before that automatically add you to an FB page before playing a game, watching a video or entering into a raffle. Accounts like these could have in the upwards of 500,000 random fans in their pages.
3) They then wait for the next biggest controversy to hit the internet and in the latest case, it’s the mauling of Vhong Navarro. People will start looking for videos either on Google, Twitter or Facebook. Facebook is the best place for discovery because it’s all about sharing and liking content.
4) The FB Page owners would then start looking for similar videos that could either pass as the real one or they would transcribe a local news report, add relevant photos as a slide show and upload on YouTube.
5) These videos are then seeded on the FB pages that that been pre-populated. Because of the timing and the controversy, it will be easily shared to the general public. If they’re lucky, it could go viral within hours.
6) Now here’s the money part — in order to monetize this traffic, the visitors could be re-directed to a website, a blog or a video channel. Visitors will either be asked to become a fan of the site, like or share the page before they can watch the videos. Of course, there will also be ads from 3rd-party ad networks. It could be on a per click or per sign-up basis, whichever is higher. Sometimes, they’d also use Google AdSense but that does not pay well and can put their accounts in jeopardy.
Some sources/contacts shared with us that on a good day, they’d rake in at least $200/day from this strategy though it’s not really every day they’d get huge hits like the one with Vhong.
And it’s not just fake videos. There are others like fake job postings on FB too. Take a look at this one FB Page that has over 88,000 Likes:
Job openings are as enticing as Apple Pickers in Canada. With a lot of unemployment going around, folks are eager to apply. The page promotes a link to a website with dummy content and lots of Google Ads.
Easy cash, eh? You will see a lot of these in FB and these are just ideas coming from really smart college kids with nothing to do on their spare time.