Name a community weblog without an "o" in the name. Bet you can't!
February 18, 2016 10:36 AM   Subscribe

There's this Facebook thing. A question will be asked like "Name a city without the letter E in the name. Bet you can't!" or some other equally easy question. 8032324089 people will then comment "Um, Atlanta! OMG This is so easy how stupid do u think i am?" People jump all over them to show how smart they are. What's the point of these things?

I assume it's some sort of marketing thing, so some company can collect names and whatnot. But how then do these marketing-type folks monetize or otherwise use the names they've collected?

Note these are just posts that people comment on, not apps or links where you have to check a box to give up all your friend's names. Those I can kind of understand.

Can someone provide an explanation, or link to a clear explanation, of just what those things are for and why people shouldn't comment on them?

I'm not looking for guesses or opinions about Facebook in general, thanks.
posted by bondcliff to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: It's called Status Phishing, and it's basically a way for a company to generate traffic on their sites to get other companies to buy advertising on it.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:45 AM on February 18, 2016 [4 favorites]

Best answer: The explanation I had heard was that these were brands building engagement. Those numbers "We get this amount of engagement with our tweets/facebooks/instagrams" can help direct dollars to marketing and social media marketing despite being pretty low-hanging fruit. Other explanations are that these are non-brands raising the profile of pages in order to flip them to people who will use them to spam/scam people.
posted by jessamyn at 10:45 AM on February 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

Companies can use coded words in the question to tailor advertising you receive in your Facebook feed.
posted by JJ86 at 10:52 AM on February 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: It's not as simple as status fishing. This practice is taken up by plenty of brands who are not demonstrating or selling anything to advertisers, because they have none. It is used by people managing social media accounts because of the way the Facebook algorithm has evolved. Facebooks logs interactions with every post and assigns points. If your posts within a 30-day cycle do not have good interaction scores, then Facebook actually shows your future posts to fewer people in the audience of those who "Like" your page.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:15 AM on February 18, 2016 [14 favorites]

hang on hang on. "status fishing" as a phrase seems to exist only on the one site that rock steady linked to. maybe that site called it status phishing, but it doesn't seem to be a common term.
posted by andrewcooke at 11:16 AM on February 18, 2016

"Like farming" is the term I've heard. Flipping a page with X number of likes is definitely one of the angles here.
posted by Lorin at 11:29 AM on February 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Snopes has a good write up on this: Death Hoaxes, Like-Farming, and You
posted by soelo at 12:11 PM on February 18, 2016 [6 favorites]

Best answer: The answer to the question in your subject is MetaFilter. [/missingthepoint]
posted by maryr at 12:18 PM on February 18, 2016 [12 favorites]

Yesterday's (?) FPP article on Tumblr popularity included an anecdote about a spinoff site wherein the blatantly erroneous or otherwise controversial posts generated more FB traffic, because commenting counts as a share.
posted by a halcyon day at 12:19 PM on February 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

DarlingBri has the right answer to your question since these posts do not involve actually liking a page.
posted by dripdripdrop at 2:04 PM on February 18, 2016

This is slightly off topic but also sort of important: Some of these questions are meant to get at the answers to common security questions.

If you ever see something like "What's your pornstar name? Take your first pet's name and the street you grew up on, and post it in the comments!"

Sure, maybe YOUR security questions don't use either of those, but then maybe they do, and a lot of people are going to amusedly post the answer without really thinking about it long enough to connect it to their banking website. There's tons of variations on this (usually it's your ___ name) some of which are a little harder to parse than others. (There's one going around now that involves taking the first n letters of your mother's maiden name, etc., which I assume depends on some people's mothers having very common last names that might be inferred from the first n letters.)

If you enjoy these, they're best enjoyed with specific other friends in private messages, where no one can steal your security question answers (or answers to questions that might get them into your bank account over the phone, that kind of thing.)
posted by gloriouslyincandescent at 9:22 PM on February 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

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