If you use Facebook, you have surely seen tons of “feel good posts” pop up in your newsfeed. And if you’re like most people, you probably “Like” and “Share” some of them.
I used to Like and Share them too, back before I learned how dangerous they can be.
“Feel good posts” typically consist of a cute photo (often of a puppy, a kitten or a child) looking all lovable and cuddly. The photo will usually have some text on it that makes it almost impossible not to like or share the post.
Here’s an example of a typical “feel good post”:
Now how many animal lovers could resist “Liking” and “Sharing” that?
Other times the post will express something that really hits close to home, like this:
Of course most anyone who has a son will “Like” and “Share” a post like that.
Those posts seem to be completely innocent, but in reality they can be downright devious.
Many seemingly innocuous “feel good posts” were really created to be “Like and Share Bait” posts that were intentionally designed to draw Likes and Shares from a large percentage of the people who see them.
Scammers post these photos on Facebook, knowing that hundreds (or even thousands) of people will help them go viral with a mountain of Likes and Shares.
After the post has begun spreading like wildfire, the perpetrator will link it to a page on the Internet that spams and/or downloads a virus onto the computers of those who click the photo in the future.
And guess what? If you were one of the hundreds (or thousands) of people who shared the “innocent” post, you’re now helping spread the offensive photo, spam and/or virus.
And if you happened to “Like” the now-dangerous post as well, you’re effectively giving it the thumbs-up without even realizing it.
Scammers also use the “click-bait” posts to build up a mountain of Likes, Shares and Followers on new Facebook pages and then either sell the pages to other scammers or use them themselves to spread spam and/or malware to the page’s unsuspecting followers.
Bottom line: It’s easy to become an unwitting accomplice to crooks, scammers and hackers on Facebook. That’s why I’m now very careful about which posts I choose to like and share.
These days I try my best to only interact with personal posts that my friends have posted on their Timelines. If it looks anything like a cookie-cutter, generic post similar to the ones you saw above, I simply ignore it.
It makes no difference how cute, heart-tugging or innocent an image might seem, if it’s a generic photo that was created to be “Like and Share Bait”, I won’t like or share it.
I recommend that you consider ignoring “feel good posts” as well. It could save you (and your friends) a lot of heartache in the future.
Bonus tip: Facebook is a wonderful tool for sharing information with your friends and learning about new things. But unfortunately, it’s also a haven for hackers and scammers.