How many times have you typed “amen” on a Facebook post purely out of sincere wishes for the subject who is portrayed as a helpless individual needing to raise money for a severe illness? In fact, the emotional appeal that often asks the readers or viewers to type ‘amen’, ‘yes’, or ‘get well soon’, leaves one guilty if we do not type ‘amen’ for such posts.
- Either uses religious messages as a tool to blackmail people, or
- Gain sympathy by using images such as that of a poor person stating they need to make enough money to be able to send their child to school or,
- Show innocent images of people suffering from an incurable disease hoping for a miracle with text balloons stating something like: “I want to live, I hope I get well soon. Say amen!”
The literal meaning of the word ‘amen’ is truly or certainly. It is originally derived from Hebrew but also has a religious connotation in faiths like Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It is mostly used after a prayer by followers of these religions to express compliance and agreement.
Therefore, some of these posts go to the extent of telling the readers that typing amen on Facebook would mean that your prayers have reached the victims.
However, the truth is that all such posts – you see on social media – are a BIG SCAM! Responding to them allows the posters/owners of the page to earn a huge amount of money through a technique called, ‘like-farming’.
What is Facebook like-farming?
Like-farming is the process of creating sympathy-gaining posts and placing them on Facebook pages specifically designed for the purpose. However, the creator`s intentions behind such posts are not genuine like yours and, in most cases, the images of children or patients used in these posts are also stolen (used without the consent of the subjects who have no idea how people are being deceived in their name.)
The purpose is to increase traffic and engagement on these pages by getting a large number of followers. Once a page becomes popular and has a massive following, it is sold to marketing companies for a hefty amount. Some like-farming Facebook pages go a step further than just generating likes and comments and fool people into sharing their personal information telling them they have won a prize or would enter into a lucky draw. This database is then sold to marketing companies and charged on the basis of the number of people whose data is provided. The more the data, the higher the charges.
Marketing companies use this personal information of people to trick them into buying their products by targeting their pain points. Some even use their contact information and residential addresses to spam them with unwanted promotional messages at odd times. It is an unethical act.
Does typing amen on Facebook posts mean your account is prone to hacking?
Since people became aware about Facebook like-farming technique, there have been rumors that typing ‘amen’ on such Facebook posts, liking them, or responding to them in any manner would allow the scammers to hack your account.
Meanwhile merely responding to these scam posts may not instantly cause your Facebook account to get hacked, but it can certainly pave the way to that. The personal information – like your date of birth or email address – you share can certainly help them in hacking your account.
The scammers can also steal your personal information by using malware software once you visit their page. Once the followers are used to engaging in seemingly harmless content like posts asking for prayers or likes, scammers can go one step ahead and may start posting links to phishing websites, or spread viruses and malicious messages. Many have even indulged in fraudulent activities that involved lying to the followers to receive a large amount of money from them.
Now that you know the truth behind typing amen on Facebook, avoid doing it the next time you come across a post that melts your heart-be it the picture of a terminally ill child, or underprivileged people dying of hunger. If you really want to help someone, look around in your neighborhood or ask your friends, you will surely find someone whom you can donate to, or volunteer for. Alternatively, you can sign up with a non-profit organization serving people. If you really want to pray for someone, do so. Liking or commenting on social media platforms cannot be the equivalent of any prayer. They will remain what they are -social media tools – to boost any post.