By Jason Ding, Research Scientist
Facebook, the giant online social network platform that launched its IPO on May 18, is approaching 1 billion users from more than 200 regions of the globe. There is no doubt that Facebook has drawn the attention of every Internet user, including spammers.
In this social network era, new strategies are constantly developed to take advantage of the exponential increase in social connections. The strategies involve pouring spam messages or phishing scams into the social universe. At Barracuda Labs, we pay very close attention to new threats and malicious content on Facebook in order to ensure a fast response to protect customers using our security and network products.
Recently, we found another wave of post activities started by a group of “meaningless” accounts, which may potentially be used for spam purposes in the near future. These posts are all about a very boring game, the “Adding Game” which after the first impression, does not make sense. See the following posts in this image:
These posts usually have the same structured content:
Step 1: LIKE This status or I will DELETE your comment c:
Step 2: – COMMENT! Female Or Male 😛 (:
Step 3: Whoever LIKES! Your comment, add them (:
Obviously, there seems to be no meaningful purpose of playing this game, purely liking some status updates and adding comments, and adding new friends if they likes your comments. Not fun at all.
Everything must have a purpose, and we keep digging: who posts these comments? By search “adding game” in the Facebook search bar, we surprisingly found that there are several hundreds of pages named “adding the game”.
Looking further, there is an obvious trend, all of these accounts have a picture of a sexy young lady as the profile picture. Browsing their timeline pages leads to many “adding game” posts, and another trend, lots of people like and are talking about these pages.
Based upon this evidence the purpose seems clear, these pages or users started the game to collect large numbers of eyeballs, fans, or likes during the game! Consequently, they can easily spread ads to their big audience. The following examples clearly demonstrate their hidden agenda. One of them is promoting a Twitter account @Thatkid_Albert and a Tubmlr page: hxxp://dopekiidsupreme.tumblr.com/ (WARNING: porngraphic), and the other is promoting several other Facebook accounts. As both examples have more than 30K+ likes, these promotions are easily pushed to many real users.
We wrote some programs to collect these “adding game” related accounts, and the results show that they total about 695 pages. The highest number of likes for a single page is 57,515, and the average is 1,041 likes per page. The highest number of users talking about one page is 53,536 and the average is 322 talkings per page. All together, the total number of likes is 696,556, and the total number of talking about is 187,286. More than half a million users have been involved in this “adding game” campaign, and potentially many more users are able to see the liking/commenting events in their newsfeed.
Additional statistics include: of these 695 pages are shown here, along with a gallery of profile pictures of these pages. Most of these pages were created in the last 5 months.
Today, the size of a social user base – number of followers, likes, or fans – is directly proportional to its worth, as many companies are promoting their markets on various social platforms. Hence these pages have a lot of potential to “grow” in marketing or spamming areas and generate revenues out of their activities . We will continue to monitor these accounts to see how they develop, and notify readers if we have new findings or data to share.
Finally, a suggestion: if you see these “adding games” posts, DO NOT follow the instructions, and please IGNORE them, unless you really want be a fan of these pages to watch incoming spam messages.