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Artificially inflation of facebook-likes

4 October 2012 21:50

Facebook Like-Inflation

If you have a website, with a "Facebook Like" box on it, it probably shows something like this:

  • 400 People Like this

Did you know that number is not just the total number of people who clicked "Like" on your page? Did you know you can artificially inflate that number?

Interesting stuff.

Send a message to yourself with the URL in the body, such that it becomes an "attachment". Watch as the like-counter increases by 1 or even 2. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Sending messages to other people probably does the same thing. But sending to yourself is sufficient.

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Comments on this entry

icon Bob Proulx at 22:07 on 4 October 2012

Interesting... It is a raw URL so I assume this would set it up for a GET request. GET requests are supposed to be safe, see http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/doc/whenToUseGet.html for reference. Couple that with a browser that either previews or pre-fetches GET URLs and I could see this happening. It is a problem that has appeared before on other sites.

If this was an unsafe action then the server should validate the action and require it to be a POST. But encouraging everyone to use social media and encouraging an inflation of Likes is good for FB so it is in their advantage to ignore that check on the premise that it is not an unsafe action. Assuming that is what is happening of course.