Celebrities Cash in on Clickbait


You may have noticed, over the years, that certain celebrities on Facebook have a penchant for posting articles from less than reputable outlets?

Well, there’s a reason for that: they’re getting paid to do it. What’s more, often the content is ‘viral’ nonsense or downright fake news, according to an investigation by snopes.

50 Cent, Martin Lawrence and Tommy Chong are some of the named celebrities, with verified Facebook pages, that Snopes has been tracking.

The investigation found that links shared on these celebrity Facebook pages use a tactic called “domain spoofing” to mask where the link actually leads to. Often to a clickbait website called "Jellyshare" that Facebook has banned.

“As demonstrated above, one link (and others like it) took users from Facebook to a landing page that contains only the story’s image, title, and a button allowing viewers to continue reading. Once users engage with the landing page, a simple line of code initiates a redirect to Jellyshare.com, which is full of fake news, clickbait, dozens of advertisements, and ad tracking software.” Snopes explains.

The idea, clearly, is to trick users into visit a website that is packed with ads and extract maximum value from their single visit. Using a verified Facebook account adds a degree of legitimacy to the link, which generate more clicks. This is an age-old influencer marketing tactic, which is often practiced on Facebook owned Instagram and can net thousands of dollars for the influencer.

It is, perhaps, unsurprising that these links are brokered by a content marketing service. In this case a company called Wild Hair, which claims not to know how the clickbait links ended up on 50 Cent's Facebook page. When contacted about Snopes’ investigation, only one celebrity of the three - 50 Cent - responded. A representative of his said that 50 had ended his affiliation with Wild Hair.

Facebook’s history of playing host to junk content is long, with the most recent revelations suggesting that its ad platform may have been used by Russian operatives to manipulate voters in the 2016 Presidential election.

An investigation Point worked on recently also showed how easy it is to buy adverts on Facebook’s platform, even with a fake company page and fake likes, and distribute almost any content, check out the video below. 

Original article: www.forbes.com

Written by: Jay McGregor

InsightsShana Grossman