It happens almost on a daily basis: I open my Facebook and see pictures of abused children or animals. One’s heart breaks for abused children but when their pictures are used to mislead people, it makes my blood boil.
That is why I’m trying to do my own small part in trying to stop child abuse scams.
Where do these child abuse scams originate from?
Very few people nowadays don’t know what the word SEO means. It stands for Search Engine Optimization. In short, it means that you do certain things on your website to make it rank higher in Google. In this way, when people start searching for things on the internet, they will find your website because it’s the first one that comes up.
All company and blog pages use different SEO techniques to get higher ranking for their pages. One of the newer ranking methods is called Social Media Engagement.
Social media is used to describe all the different social media platforms. Of these, Facebook and Twitter are probably the most popular. So websites started building Facebook Pages. Likes, comments and shares on these pages were used to measure how popular a website is with the public. The belief is that if you like, comment or share anything from a certain Facebook page, it tells Google that the website connected to that page is legitimate and liked by the public.
The Like Us Generation was born.
Why do they use child abuse scams?
Everywhere we started seeing Facebook pages asking for likes. And once you liked a page, you get asked to comment and share. But for some shady businesses, they couldn’t get enough generic likes, comments and shares. They decided to go a different route.
These websites that don’t always feel they need to do the right thing, saw a way to scam both their followers and Google – or so they thought.
It’s a well known fact that people are basically good. Very few people won’t have empathy with an abused child or animal. And this meant the start of the child abuse scams. As if it’s not heartbreaking enough that children are abused, they get abused further by having their pictures plastered over social media for the benefit of greedy website owners.
Matt Cutts is clear about it: It is all of little benefit
Now we know that it doesn’t even benefit these websites as much as they think. Matt Cutts from Google recently released a video in which he made it clear that Google doesn’t rely on Facebook likes and Twitter followers when determining a website’s social media leverage any longer. In fact, Google doesn’t even really crawl these social pages and he makes the reasoning behind this very clear in the following video.
When you see these child abuse scams, you need to think with your head, not your heart
You can hardly scroll through your news feed on Facebook without seeing at least one picture of an abused child or animal. The byline always reads something like:
Like to show you care. Ignore to show you don’t have a heart.
How absurd is that? I don’t have a heart because I don’t like a picture of a suffering child?
This past weekend a new one made its appearance. This time, these scam artists really went too far. The picture of a clearly abused baby was heartbreaking. The byline read:
HE IS SUFFERING FROM CANCER..!!!
Please Don’t Ignore!
FACEBOOK DONATE FOR:
LIKE : 1 $
COMMENT : 3 $
SHARE : 10 $
IGNORE : IF U DON’T CARE
The page that initially posted it, was a site that sells pictures and wallpapers. They have nothing to do with abused children. But the message was clear. Like, comment and share their post and Facebook will donate money. What a load of rubbish!
In fact, a friend of a friend commented that he had seen the same picture on a different news feed about two months ago, with a completely different story. It is clearly just another example of these child abuse scams.
Facebook is a business. They probably do make donations but will then do it under their own banner. And I can hardly see Mark Zuckerberg using pictures of abused children to leverage donations for charity.
Let’s stop these scams!
So my plea to everyone who reads this post is simple: Please don’t let these shady websites use your good, charitable heart to try and scam Google to achieve better ranking. Let’s rather do something real for abused children. Donate real money to a real charity. Use your Facebook to spread the news about their fundraising events. Go and spend time at an abuse trauma centre. Do volunteer work for an organisation that works with abused children.
Sharing these heartbreaking pictures is nothing but a scam and has never helped even one abused child in any tangible way.
Please help me. Let’s stop these child abuse scams once and for all.