Tagging Sessions: The Underground Facebook Page Liking Scam

Facebook Scam

I feel so naive.

I’ve been on Facebook for five years. I first used it for business purposes five years ago when the NBA (I was an employee) partnered with Facebook to have an application developed. Yes, this was so long ago that you couldn’t create your own app. And this was when businesses had groups, not pages.

So Facebook and I go way back, and it’s why I know it inside and out.

One of the things that has always bothered me about Twitter is the numbers scheming. To be considered “influential,” you need to have followers. To get followers, some people will do anything. They follow thousands, hoping to get followed back. If people don’t follow back, they unfollow. There is an entire network of people that call themselves #TeamFollowBack. Numbers padding abounds on Twitter, and I hate it.

It’s one reason I’ve always preferred Facebook. That kind of crap doesn’t exist on Facebook.

Wait… it does?

I’ve been enjoying a very nice bump in new likes to my Facebook page lately. Some of it was due to Facebook ads I ran. Some was due to record traffic to this site that has stretched for a week and a half now.

On Friday, I hit a milestone for my Facbook page: 1,000 likes. It was awesome. I felt like I accomplished something. And it wasn’t just the nice, round, arbitrary number. It wasn’t a hollow number. These people were engaging. But there was one little thing that wasn’t right…

On three separate occasions, I posted a status update and received a comment along these lines:

Who are you and why are you posting on my wall??!!

When it was one person, I thought nothing of it. I thought it was either a joke or a crazy person. After two, I figured this is just the kind of stuff you deal with as you start to grow. But then three? In two days? Something wasn’t right.

Luckily, one of my fans told me what was up:

its because they liked you on a tagging session from their personal page and tagged their fan page and didnt unlike you off their personal page so your posts are showing up in their feed , just as you are showing up in mine.

Eh? I had no idea what this person was talking about. Tagging sessions? What in the world are those?

Then I was given links to a couple of pages that led these “sessions” and I was disgusted.

[Note: I’m not going to link to these pages here and give them any additional traffic.]

What is it? I’ll let them describe themselves:

You will never get fans IF YOU DON’T LIKE OTHERS FIRST

do you wait for a job to come to you…NO

LIKE and ask for return like then LIKE again and ask again (different page..they will come)

Rules to post on my wall…

1.Tag or LINK ME (copy my www and HIT link on your page and paste…then share) tell your fans [redacted] is a great place to network
2. Come and post on my wall
3. Like at least 10 other pages and comment on them…can be your tag
I will randomly promote pages that PROMOTE THIS PAGE and like other pages.

quickest ways to get fans….


I hate this garbage. I hate that some people liked my page because it was shared to one of these “sessions.” I hate that I don’t know how many of these people ended up liking my page. It could be three or it could be 300. I have no idea.

Why do I hate it? Because it’s a mirage. It’s dirty. And it gets you nowhere.

These people completely miss the point of a Facebook page. They don’t get it. They value number of likes over the person behind the like. They ignore relationships in the hunt for numbers.

The people involved in this scheme have no interest in your page. As the description says, they like to get liked. It’s for the numbers. Period.

So when I got people saying, Who are you?? it’s because they honestly didn’t know. Because they liked 10, 20 or who knows how many pages for only one reason: To be liked back.

If your Facebook marketing strategy is focused around number of likes, you are going to fail. I don’t want inflated numbers. I want reality.

An inflated number is not reality. It doesn’t give me an accurate reflection of how I’m doing. So if I’m doing poorly, I want the numbers to reflect that. I don’t want a lie that will deflect the truth.

I get there are well meaning people who participate in this. They are struggling. They don’t want to spend the money on ads. Maybe they simply don’t know how to build a page honestly. Or they think this will lead to wealth.

Don’t buy it. You are only hurting yourself, your page and your brand. Don’t share my page on one of these walls. And if you ever see my page shared there, do us both a favor: Don’t like it.

My Facebook strategy is centered around honesty, transparency and authenticity. I do not take short cuts. They do not pay off. To get passionately engaged fans and customers, you have to do it the right way.

That right way takes time. It takes hard work. And there is no other way to do it.

Don’t be tempted to participate in this garbage. Facebook now has a metric called “Talking About This.” If you add a bunch of fluff likes, it will be reflected in this number. You can’t hide.

Don’t be scared of marketing honestly. Read my free eBook. Follow this website and my Facebook page. I’m here to help.

  • Henrietta

    Well, I did wonder why you started showing up in my newsfeed. I left it because I like to read helpful stuff I can pass on. I guess I should say thank you because now I’ve also learned something I initially knew nothing about. I’m going to have to read it again to fully understand the workings of these ‘Tagging Sessions’.
    I’ll make sure I get onto your actual page and like it. I’ll share my findings with my friends/fans who incidentally, want me to join Twitter so they can follow me there. Now I’m not so sure.
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    • Anonymous

      Twitter’s fine, Henrietta. I use Twitter, too. It just has a big issue with people who are so concerned about numbers that they inflate them. There is way more good than bad there. I just didn’t realize that type of activity was on Facebook, too. Now I know.

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  • http://twitter.com/pedrofmbs Pedro dos Santos

    One thing that I don’t understand is how/why those people where promoting your Page on those sessions? Shouldn’t they promote only their own stuff? How did you get caught up in the mix? Thanks!

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      It was just a matter of loyal Facebook fans who thought they were “helping” me, Pedro. If I’m not mistaken, people were asked to share 15 pages that they want to have people like (not positive, it’s been a while now).

  • LC

    I’m new to facebook and placed an ad to generate interest in my art. what i’m noticing is something very suspicious…today i’m getting a lot of likes but there is something similar about all of them that distinguishes then from what i observe in a “genuine” account holder. These suspicious adds all have their name (always foreign) then a name in parenthesis..they all have the “do you know ..send friends request” link. they all show a post where they have answered a few questions then the rest of the timeline is full with various generic cover photo pics. they never have a friends list or display their likes or recent activity. none of these “likers” deviate from this M.O. if you would take a cursory glance at their page u wouldn’t suspect anything..when u look a 30 in a row u see a pattern. This implies something more sinister then mere padding between memebers. If one is paying for an ad to generate real leads and interest…but every click ..money is deducted for what appears to be a bogus “like” …smells a lot like fraud!

    • NG

      Same thing with my band’s page. Put up an ad last night and got 190 likes in 12 hours (til budget was hit). Seems like clear fraud to me as well. All likers followed the same trends as yours. Damn shame.

      • NG

        Oh, and just to prove this further–the landing page for the ad was our BandCamp, and unfortunately, not one single play registered during the 12 hour period. In fact, not even any views, so whomever was liking was literally just hitting “like” without even clicking the ad.

  • unity100

    Really. unfortunately your arguments will fall on deaf ears. because, in this capitalist system everyone has to make out a living. And it seems that the easiest and surest way to do it seems digital space these days. Not that they are wrong either. So, everyone is trying to make out something. Dont blame them. Dont blame internet. blame the system that continually distorts income distribution AND removes social safety nets and pushes people into more need and insecurity.

    • LC

      REALLY…we live in a capitalist society…but there are laws that are clearly being violated. Facebook is a company that makes money from advertisement. They show you a number that represents how many facebook account holder they have and then sell you advertisement space to these people…but the numbers are inflated because a large majority of these accounts don’t exist but were created for the sole purpose of clicking on ads which costs the ad holder money. …..i suspect facebook because they are who directly benefits.

      • unity100

        And ? Your proposition is a response to my argument, how ? You thought that all would be ok if you just enact some laws in a system which enforces people to a fight for survival in a downward spiraling fashion ? People would just obey those laws in the wake of their survival and forego their necessities and needs ?

  • http://www.facebook.com/robdavycripwell Rob Davy-Cripwell

    I spent good marketing money on Facebook ads and although I boosted my page likes by over 100, they are all worthless because they all look like fake accounts. None of them will turn into business leads and I could’ve spent that money so much better. It’s so disappointing and needless to say I won’t be advertising on Facebook again.

  • untitled

    I just got the urge to get rid of both of my Facebook accounts. I should’ve never gotten on Facebook on the first place. Each time I think of Facebook I just get a nasty feeling in my stomach.
    It just doesn’t seem like a community page anymore , I can’t feel it :/. Hope you don’t mind that I shared my thoughts like this…

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  • BdeV

    I promote my page for Likes through FB at $5 a day. Initially the Likes seemed real but recently I have noticed that they count the same three names up to 4 or 5 times, so two names are actually counted by FB as 10 Likes. I have taken screenshots to show that the same name is running up my numbers. As Jon says its a disappointment to see that they are meaningless. Also many of the pages from the Likers have not been used at all, or may even be fake pages. Most are indeed foreign, in my case French and the 13-18 demographic. Moreover it seems fraudulent to me, and was wondering if there is any recourse? How do I connect directly with FB and complain? It also seems that my community help page has been disabled.