No matter how hard Facebook tries to regulate spammy content, the spammers themselves always seem to be a step ahead. That’s how it’s gone with a recent spate of bait-and-switch “videos” intended to trick users into watching just to boost the spam publisher’s view count.
How the scheme works is simple: shady publishers simply create a Facebook video, but instead of actual footage, the videos depict a still image. This is often done with popular memes to boost the “video’s” viral potential. Buzzfeed even found that the top 50 posts from one such meme page were all fake videos.
Facebook denies that videos are given a higher priority in News Feed, and that users simply interact with them more. However, while the company has vowed to crack down on these still-image videos, there are easy ways around the rules. One of these publishers says she avoids trouble with Facebook simply by adding music and using Facebook’s Slideshow tool to create her videos.
“I’ve been adding music to most [of] mine and Facebook has a feature for us to make them this way so it’s not against policy,” she said. “They support us with the tools to create them.”
In the grand scheme of things, Facebook has much bigger problems to deal with. But still, every bit of fake content hurts the company’s reputation.