I am going to discuss very common phenomena found on Facebook:
“Here is a picture of baby going for surgery, in a day. Please like it, 1 like= 1 $“
“Picture of soldier, 1 like = 1 respect“
So how does it work, do users really believe that Facebook is donating money to people based on no of likes or shares a picture gets. Also there is a trend of comparing different gods, clothes, hairstyles, and asking for likes, comments, shares. Most of the pictures going viral are the ones where some guilt is involved, where users are made to think that they are doing good for someone.
But in reality, these pages are just exploiting other people’s misfortune to build their page statistics, and thus increase their revenues. These pages are like social content farming sites. (Content farm sites : main aim is high traffic meaning higher revenue.)
Here I am giving example of the 22-moth old girl, Serafina Murphy, who underwent heart surgery, which was successful. It happened in Oct 2012 and now her picture was put up by starteens page (without permission). This picture got viral and received 4.3 million ‘likes’, was shared 61,000 times and received more than 67,000 comments.
What this meant for the page was: since launching on July 11th, it has garnered 194,467 ‘Likes’ and 11.4 million people ‘talking about this. This in particular shows potential advertisers the popularity and engagement of online users and reflects how many people are actually interacting with the page at any time.
The higher ‘likes’ and ‘talking about this’ get the better a page such as Starteens can become at using people to click on links featured on their pages which go direct to external sites and from these they can make advertising revenue.
Though her father commented on the picture and actually raised money from it
Full story at “Page exploiting sick little girl“
But the question remains, is it correct for these pages to profit off pictures of sick children?