#1 - Free HP Laptops...?

Free HP Laptops...? - Unethical Marketing Expose #1

So, you're browsing your Facebook, and you just happen to come across a Facebook post that claims they're giving away HP Laptops. And all you need to do is comment "HP" and you're in! That was easy.

A couple days passed and you start wondering where your laptop might be, so you went back to the Facebook page to check for an update.

Post not longer available

"This content is not available"

That's odd. You could've sworn that you commented on that post few days ago. Well perhaps the giveaway is over and you didn't win? You didn't think much of it, and proceeded to move on with your life.

Taking a deeper dive

Post likes

While the post is live it attracted a lot of attention, coming in at 1.5K likes, 66K comments and 19K shares. It looks like a lot of people really wants a free HP Laptop.

However if you take a closer look, things starts to get a little suspicious. If you look at the Facebook page itself, you will realize that the page has only a single post, which is titled "Free HP Laptop giveaway". You then take a look at the page information, and this is what you find

Page info

Which brings up the following questions:

  1. Why is the category of the page listed as Artist?
  2. Why does the description has nothing to do with anything the page trying to promote (giveaway free HP Laptop)?
  3. Why does the post only has 1.5K likes, while the page itself has 7.5k likes?

Created

In the midst of confusion, a clue show up, and it might be the answer to everything.

What is actually happening?

So, upon gathering all the information, here's what we think is happening.

1) Page Creation

The facebook page is created, with the purpose of promoting some kind of product (could be commission for drawing, design, song, etc). The page then proceeds to gain some likes and followers organically.

2) Laundering likes and followers

After gaining a couple hundred followers, the Facebook page is then renamed to "HP Laptop Giveaway", and the posted the post mentioned earlier. The main purpose of doing so is to gain the attention (as well as likes) from guillible users.

3) Rinse and repeat

Here's where the owner deletes all posts, and then rename the page again, which explains the "This content is not available" message mentioned previously. The page will be renamed to something similar, such as "Free iPhone Giveaway" or "Free Rayban Giveaway", and the same thing is repeated all over again, until the owner of the page is satisfied.

Why?

There is always reason behind everything. Take a look at following screenshot and try to guess what is the reason.

Page on sales

Surprise surprise, it's profit. The owner of the Facebook page is inflating the value of the Facebook page (as measured with followers and likes), before selling it in order to maximize the gain.

Red flags & Action to take

There's a ton of similar Facebook giveaway pages that you will come across, some of them are in fact real, but you should ask yourselves these questions before believing them:

  1. Has the page only existed for a very short amount of time?
  2. Has the page existed for a long amount of time, but only have a single post?
  3. Does the page description matches what it posts?
  4. Does the page NOT have any contact information whatsover?
  5. Does the offer sound too good to be true?

If any of the answers above is yes, you should be suspicious of that particular Facebook page.

If you came across one that is highly suspicious and fit multiple red flags above, here is what you might consider doing.

  1. Do not comment on the post
  2. Do not share the post
  3. Report it to Facebook
  4. Make a screenshot and report to involved parties
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