There’s nothing new about clickbait posts on Facebook. Social media is a relentless contest for attention, like junior high. We’re used to seeing a lot of harmless, banal mommy-chum like this:
Same post, with the same meme, on the same page, a couple of weeks apart produces results that differ by orders of magnitude. It could be that the second one is just newer, but based on the second post’s engagement trajectory that doesn’t seem to explain the difference. Scrolling through other memes on the page another pattern emerges. The difference appears to be the “with” accounts, other social media entities “tagged” to assist with promotion.
What are those accounts and why do they matter? It isn’t clear and there’s no definite pattern. A lot them are, for lack of a better term, squirrelly. They seem to be “promoter accounts,” generating dozens of posts of day consisting mostly of spam. Some are offshore. A few appear to be ordinary people. Why these tagged accounts deliver such huge impact is unclear, but the results are impressive. How this works is murky, but it’s clear that someone has found a way to gain absolutely stellar reach for these apparent spam posts. What they have in common is help from affiliate networks.
If you spend any time on Facebook you’ve probably noticed a blizzard of question memes coming from clickbait accounts. You’ve likely either commented on them yourself or seen comments from close friends. Many of these posts look like they’re probing for answers to security/verification questions, but the ugly reality is that your passwords are nearly worthless. Chances are your passwords are already circulating on the dark web, sold in batches of millions for as little as a few thousand dollars. Unless you hold the password to something wildly valuable, like major corporate or government assets, nobody cares except kids playing around.