"If you’re not charging for your product, then your users are the product." Dmitri Leonov, Mashable
We've heard about how Facebook uses data, people are beginning to twig that the service they signed up to was a social service for the benefit of all, through which they could contact friends and stay in touch with family. Facebook does all these things and it's free. BUT there is no such thing as a free lunch, as the cliché goes and more people are realising that by participating, they are in fact the product.
There have been various attempts to test out the extent to which Facebook check their ads (or not) for authenticity and whether it's easy to slip through fake or fraudulent campaigns - so we thought we'd give it a try too, for the benefit of having some empirical evidence. Inspired by a similar campaign running concurrently, The Somerset Leveller magazine reported that "at no point did Facebook contact us, express concern about the content of the page or question any aspect of the "buiness" being promoted."
So we're keen to find out what checks and balances might be in place. Is there something in place that might flag bogus accounts, might prevent the naive being conned out of their hard-earned cash, for instance?
There is usually an approval process when an advert is booked (30 minutes or so) and then, once approved, the main communication from Facebook is to send you analytics and try to persuade you to extend your spend, wider or renew your campaign.
So, as an experiment we're going to advertise this page in a link - the sole purpose of which is to spoof a page.
We need your money and intend to do whatever we like with it. You will not be notified of any end goal or purpose and this campaign is not regulated by any of the financial services that look after finance-based companies in the UK.
So please email firstname.lastname@example.org and show us the colour of your money.
Will we be exposed? We someone cotton on?
Let's try it and find out...
If you'd like to join our fake Facebook page, it's here (really)