That Facebook page you like is actually spam
Aly Monique spends her days studying nursing in Chicago, but at night she plays a stylist online. At the social-shopping site Polyvore, she creates fashionable ensembles with chic bags and cute designer dresses and sexy shoes. She has no training in the art of style, but the numbers prove her talent. Every time one of her sets gets posted to Facebook, tens of thousands of people like and share it. They gush with praise. They beg to know where they can buy every single item, right down to the accessories.
But Monique is completely clueless of her popularity.
Her images are being stolen by a Facebook page called Dresses and shared with its 2.9 million followers—without permission and without credit.
Every day, Facebook users talk about Dresses more than just about any other page on the social network. The “talking about this" statistic, which you can see at the top of every Facebook page, is perhaps the network’s most meaningful metric of success. It shows popularity, but also engagement. It’s about who shares you and who talks about you. Lady Gaga, with her 55 million subscribers, only manages to muster about 500,000 people talking about her at any given time. Dresses, by contrast, routinely pulls in a far more monstrous 2 million, and nearly every day, the page hits the top 30 most-talked-about pages, according to data provided by independent social analytics firm PageData.
The page’s success comes from stealing collages created by Monique, and others like her, and turning them into an endless stream of eye candy for style lovers. If you subscribe to Dresses, your Facebook page becomes a fashion catalog, barraged with cute pictures of ready-made outfits. It’s Facebook window shopping.
But it’s also spam. Each photograph serves as a vehicle to deliver links to either another Facebook page owned by the same group or, more commonly, to an external site called Stylish Eve—a self-proclaimed “online magazine” that consists of little more than boilerplate text, more stolen images, and huge Google ads.
It’s a content farm fertilized by Facebook.
[original gif by challenger