Facebook Advertises a Scam


One of the more irritating features of Facebook these days is the “sponsored post” that appears throughout your news feed. This one from Thursday is really annoying because it’s just a blatant scam, as obvious as Miss Cleo or Benny Hinn. Here’s a screengrab of it:

Facebook Scam

How could anyone take this crap seriously?

ARE YOUR VIBRATIONS HELPING OR HURTING YOU?

Your personal vibration frequency could be the ONE thing holding you back from abundance, happiness and success. Discover how to raise it, so you can finally start living from the vibration of Love or Above.

Whenever you see a phrase like “personal vibration frequency,” you know you’re dealing with some weapons-grade bullshit. And yes, I know that all websites sometimes get ads that are scams, but those are fed by an ad server that you have little control over. This was a sponsored post, so Facebook had to accept it specifically.

Comments

  1. whheydt says

    Hmmm…. Since I’m happily doing some playing with Raspberry Pis, my personal vibration frequency is probably 700MHz (except when overclocked).

    I wonder what she uses to *measure* “personal vibration frequencies?

  2. stever says

    I don’t have a Facebook account. I spotted their business model early on: “Tell us EVERYTHING about your life, and we will aggregate and index this pile of data for sale to spammers and snoops.” Of course, I almost certainly have a Facebook “shadow profile.” These are automatically compiled on non-subscribers who are mentioned on Facebook. I notice that there’s a ‘Like’ button, but no ‘Dislike.’ Is there a feedback address where you can ask the management why they’re advertising such an obvious fraud?

  3. matty1 says

    The vibrations thing reminds me of a conversation my brother (rse.who is a physicist) once had with a woman who believed in almost everything.

    Her: I believe even the dead have energy
    Him: How many joules?

    She didn’t get it of cou

  4. D. C. Sessions says

    I don’t have a Facebook account.

    Yup. Nor visit if I can help it, and when I do it’s via anonymous browsing. If they don’t like it, all the better.

    Unfortunately, that may not be an option much longer. AZ DOT uses Facebook as a host for emergency road closure notifications (weather, mostly in winter) because it’s way cheaper than paying to provision for peak load. And if FB insists on account-only access It’s going to get ugly.

  5. catlover says

    FaceBook is bad. I do not expect any good from them. I am sure that even if all FaceBook users had to pay to have accounts, FaceBook would still be greedy enough to sell all personal info shared.

  6. Trebuchet says

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, may I point out the MANY scam ads that appear right here on FTB? Some of which are also offensively sexist, like the ones with photoshopped womens’ butts and selling a fake testosterone supplement?

    I do realize that FTB can’t control content from that particular ad server (unlike from Google) so maybe it’s time to reconsider using them as an ad supplier?

  7. whiskeyjack says

    I do my best to mess with Facebook’s metrics. I think it’s my duty.

    Anyway, if you get an add-on like SocialFixer, it blocks all the ads. “Sponsored” means they paid for it, so let them pay for something I’ll literally never see.

  8. bones says

    Personal vibration frequency? Sounds a lot like heartbeat. You know, if that goes too low, that will definitely start “holding you back from abundance, happiness and success” really FAST. In which case what you need then is called CPR

  9. JohnInLex says

    For the most part the ads on FTB are a result of the surfing you do online. After I spent time researching Corel WordPerfect Office I got Corel ads on most of the sites I visited.

    If the ads offend then click on the little sideways triangle and ask them to not send that ad. I’ve done that, and that ad went away.

    This is my first comment on FTB. I’ve been reading for a long time, but I’m shy.
    John

  10. says

    One night my personal vibrations made me feel so disoriented I almost fell out of my computer chair.
    Then I found it it was just the smallish earthquake where the epicenter was a block from me.

  11. glenmorangie10 says

    I regularly get sponsored post ads for the fb page of an antisemitic hatemonger (I’m not going to post the name, since I expect any visits may increase his income generation). As for scams, the people on my limited “friends” list, made up almost entirely of family, regularly post links to scams, articles by scammers, and scamming websites based on a wide variety of pseudosciences, superstitions, and bullshit. I would hardly notice an ad like this.

  12. F [is for failure to emerge] says

    All of this and no Hate button.

    Trebuchet: FB is it’s own advertising business, with control at every level. Also, treating ad material as user-generated-content “sponsored post”, including the “liked by your friends” feature. FTB has a service, which is the least offensive one they can cope with. They are, among other things, keyword-dependent. Also, what JohnInLex at 17 said.

    You can report ads with the Tech Issues link. ^
    see http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/4261

  13. lofgren says

    How could anyone take this crap seriously?

    It’s no less absurd than the idea that our entire body has been colonized by invisible animalcules who make up nearly 90% of us and need to be kept in careful balance with each other so that they can effectively fight off evil invisible creatures who spread disease. If you are scientifically ignorant, you have to accept both propositions on faith. Neither seems any more absurd than the other to me. Reality is as weird as any woo.

  14. says

    I think that this header:

    “Facebook Advertises a Scam”

    is roughly equivalent to:

    “Humpback whale eats a Capelin”.

    @25:

    Huh? Is there some logic hiding in that comment?

  15. Trebuchet says

    @me at 14: Now that I’ve whined, I realize I’m not seeing the offensive ads just now. Perhaps FTB has dropped that service.

    @JohnlnLex, 17:

    For the most part the ads on FTB are a result of the surfing you do online. After I spent time researching Corel WordPerfect Office I got Corel ads on most of the sites I visited.

    Those are coming from Google. Anything I search for comes up in ads afterwards. The other ones were always the same raft of crap — Male Gamers Only, Fake testosterone supplement, free energy scam, etc.

    @F, 24:

    You can report ads with the Tech Issues link.

    Been there, done that, corresponded with Ed via e-mail. He explained that they could control offensive content on the Google ones but not from the service that was doing the offensive ones.

  16. says

    @30:

    The part where I have no frame of reference to what the fuck you’re talking about?

    This:

    “It’s no less absurd than the idea that our entire body has been colonized by invisible animalcules who make up nearly 90% of us and need to be kept in careful balance with each other so that they can effectively fight off evil invisible creatures who spread disease. If you are scientifically ignorant, you have to accept both propositions on faith. Neither seems any more absurd than the other to me.”

    somehow leads to this:

    “Reality is as weird as any woo.” ?

  17. typecaster says

    Hmm. I use Firefox by preference, and the AdBlock add-on is a big reason why. It’s the first thing I install. I’ve never seen any of the ads mentioned so far in this thread, and by and large, I’m quite happy about that.

  18. lofgren says

    The part where I have no frame of reference to what the fuck you’re talking about?

    Which is actually a good illustration of exactly what I am talking about. This:

    Our entire body has been colonized by invisible animalcules who make up nearly 90% of us and need to be kept in careful balance with each other so that they can effectively fight off evil invisible creatures who spread disease.

    Is a very crude description of the germ theory of disease, which was a revolutionary hypothesis about the source of maladies discovered sometime in the 19th century. The current estimates are that the human body is composed of about 9 symbiote cells for every 1 human cell. These symbiotes are microscopic creatures from every kingdom. When kept in the proper balance with each other, the creatures not only enable the proper functioning of the human body, they fend off colonization attempts by less beneficial creatures. If the symbiotes are not in the proper ratio, it might lead to infection, irritation, or death of the host.

    This fact is only slightly less ridiculous than the idea that our bodies must be attuned to certain vibrational frequencies in order to maintain proper function.

    In fact, the only reason it is slightly less ridiculous is that there is about a hundred years of confirmation in the form of modern medicine. But the idea that living creatures have a proper vibrational frequency is not wholly without support even in the scientific community. Evidence is sketchy, but the hypothesis that bacteria and even plants use vibrations to communicate with each other are still areas of ongoing research by experts. (Although my impression is that the biological community at large is still mostly skeptical.) Honey bees use vibrations to communicate with the rest of the hive. It’s true that none of these hypotheses are remotely similar to what is being discussed in the ad, nor do any scientists propose any similar mechanisms in humans (to my knowledge), but the point is that it’s not totally ridiculous.

    Ed asks rhetorically “How could anyone take this crap seriously?” The implication is that they shouldn’t. But Ed has been covering science topics professionally at least since Dover, and prior to that he clearly had an interest in and an aptitude for science. His question belies a disappointing lack of awareness of his own limited perspective. Either he is rejecting the notion of a personal vibration frequency out-of-hand, in which case he is basically a denialist, or he has previously investigated the topic, in which case he once took it seriously enough to at least determine whether it has any value and has since determined that because he knows the truth, everybody else ought to as well.

    To anybody not already familiar with the various claims about magical vibrations, they SHOULD seem just as reasonable as the idea that our bodies are a complex ecosystem of invisible beasties whose constant turf wars have a significant impact on our physical comfort and health. Both are rather extraordinary claims. Both bear investigation. To somebody who hasn’t spent decades steeped in the skeptical/scientific/critical thinking communities, that would be an extremely daunting task. Especially since we do such a poor job of training young people to use the tools available to them in the service of critical evaluation of medical claims.

    For somebody who claims to have once been embedded in the evangelical subculture, Ed regularly shows very little empathy for the skeptical journeys of others. It’s good that he managed to find his way to a place where he has strong critical thinking skills and a breadth of knowledge about the most common scams and various scientific-sounding buzzwords appropriated by gurus. But nobody is born knowing this stuff. His own journey was not instantaneous, and he almost certainly believes something today that somebody somewhere will look at him and laugh someday and say “How could you ever have taken that seriously?” Using that kind of rhetoric makes us appear haughty, smug, and, frankly, like gaping assholes. The only answer to the question is “Because they don’t know any better yet,” something that could equally be said about at least one belief held by everybody reading this comment, and not something that anybody should be made ashamed to admit.

    Yeah, but reality is verifiable and woo isn’t. Your point…?

    That until something has been verified, there is no difference between the two.

    The SGU (Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe, a podcast produced by friend of FTB Rebecca Watson and Science-Based Medicine’s Steven Novella, amongst others) recently reported that less than 1% of psychology experiments have been replicated, that successful replication of results of experiments drops by a third when the authors of the original study were not involved, and that nearly a third of scientists admitted to engaging in ethically dubious experimentation techniques in a recent anonymous survey. Given that psychology claims are among the most likely to be overhyped by the popular media, the public at large has good reason to be highly skeptical of many scientific claims. Obviously, none of this calls into question something as well-supported as germ theory or makes it any more likely that humans have a personal vibrational frequency. But I don’t find it at all difficult to understand why a person would take the possibility of the latter seriously given how crazy the former already sounds.

    Ed is basically making an argument from incredulity, framed in a way that is designed to make people feel ashamed for simply not having the same information that he does. It’s unbecoming.

  19. lordshipmayhem says

    What a coincidence! My vibrations ARE hurting me. Mind you, that’s because they’re caused by the construction crew jackhammering out concrete as they renovate the parking garage. Not much she can do about that, unless she wants to put on a hardhat and join them to make the job go quicker.

  20. says

    “Obviously, none of this calls into question something as well-supported as germ theory or makes it any more likely that humans have a personal vibrational frequency.”

    Um, if you had TYPED germ theory, THEN there would be a frame of reference. Since you didn’t you have now had to spend a brazillion electrozygotes to make your point:

    “Reality is as weird as any woo.”

    AND, you are wrong.

  21. F [is for failure to emerge] says

    Trebuchet @ 28

    Well gah. Not all that helpful to report then, is it?

    Of course, advertisers being what they are, you’d think they would be interested in delivering to their audiences something effective. (But no, they just want advertising client. Who also are jack-shit aware of reality.)

  22. caseloweraz says

    Now you’ve done it, democommie. You’ve forced me to drag out The Quote*.

    “The universe is not only weirder than we imagine; it is weirder than we can imagine.”

    (I’ve replaced “queerer” with “weirder” to make a point. Perhaps the best way to make that point is to invite you to think of the world in which your grandfather grew up. I’m only guessing about the actual years, but I think it’s a fair guess that back then he would have thought gene manipulation, organ transplants, artificial hearts, handheld computers (any computers, in fact), pictures sent through the air to distant points, etc. to be totally weird.

    The point is that we know the scientific basis for such things (or can if we care to) — but without that, moving pictures sent through the air sounds as weird as homeopathic medicine.

    *Often attributed to J.B.S. Haldane, sometimes to Sir Arthur Eddington.

    I found the actual quote reproduced here along with some other good stuff.

  23. lofgren says

    Um, if you had TYPED germ theory, THEN there would be a frame of reference. Since you didn’t you have now had to spend a brazillion electrozygotes to make your point:

    If I had typed germ theory, it would have undermined my point because it would have provided you with a frame of reference. You’re comfortable with germ theory. You’ve grown up with it all your life. I rephrased it using non-scientific language and archaic terms that would have been out-of-date by the time it was first proposed precisely in order to emphasize just how bizarre and idea it actually is, and apparently I succeeded.

    AND, you are wrong.

    Ah yes, I am “wrong” about a completely subjective thing like which of two ideas is weirder. This is also Ed’s problem. Complete failure to appreciate what the world might look like from any perspective other than his own. I happen to think that the idea that human beings have a vibrational frequency that affects their mood and outlook is a hell of a lot more plausible than the idea that there is a magic man in the sky who loves us and wants us to send money to greedy assholes on TV, yet Ed confesses he believed the latter for years (albeit when he was a child) and millions of people around the world continue to believe it. But I guess I am probably “wrong” about that, too.

  24. says

    @38&39:

    The difference between what both of you are pointing at and what is actually going on is that WOO stays WOO. There is no scientific basis, nor has there been, for any sort of hypothesis or theory re: “vibrations” of the sort that the ad talks about. When there is NO scientific basis it’s not a theory or a postulate or a hypothesis or any other sort of scientific form of inquiry; it’s bullshit.

    This:

    “Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.Sir Arthur Eddington
    English astronomer (1882 – 1944)” (Source:http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/27537.html)

    has little or nothing to do with Lofgren’s comparison. Eddington does not appear to have been comparing woo to science. He appears to have been comparing the known to the unknown–in science.

    This:

    “It’s no less absurd than the idea that our entire body has been colonized by invisible animalcules who make up nearly 90% of us and need to be kept in careful balance with each other so that they can effectively fight off evil invisible creatures who spread disease.”

    is woo, Lofgren.

    I assume that you have a paper trail back to Pasteur or Koch or someone else who said what you typed in that comment @25.

  25. lofgren says

    The difference between what both of you are pointing at and what is actually going on is that WOO stays WOO. There is no scientific basis, nor has there been, for any sort of hypothesis or theory re: “vibrations” of the sort that the ad talks about. When there is NO scientific basis it’s not a theory or a postulate or a hypothesis or any other sort of scientific form of inquiry; it’s bullshit.

    So? I’m not disputing that it’s bullshit. I called it woo from the outset. What I am saying is that just because it is woo does not make it unbelievable. If you tell a scientifically illiterate person about germs and about vibrations, it’s basically a crapshoot which they’ll believe, if they believe either. Ed’s tone suggests that the claims made in the ad are inherently unbelievable. But people are not born knowing the difference between science fact and woo. The only way to tell the difference is to be educated about what the current science says – and how reliably it says it, to boot.

    This:

    “It’s no less absurd than the idea that our entire body has been colonized by invisible animalcules who make up nearly 90% of us and need to be kept in careful balance with each other so that they can effectively fight off evil invisible creatures who spread disease.”

    is woo, Lofgren.

    No, that’s science fact. It’s accepted truth by the vast majority of medical practitioners as well as lay people. It is not remotely controversial in any scientific circle. Your body is covered in and infused with bacteria, funghi, plants, protozoa, and even animals who facilitate its normal daily function and protect it from harmful pathogens. This fact has been used to effectively combat diseases for over a hundred years now.

    The fact that you can’t tell the difference between woo and fact is exactly my point.

    I assume that you have a paper trail back to Pasteur or Koch or someone else who said what you typed in that comment @25.

    No, and I don’t have a quote from Darwin describing the modern synthesis, either. You do realize that science progresses over time, right?

  26. says

    Lofgren:

    I realize that you are resorting to your time honored and despicable habit of refusing to admit that some ignorant and facile comment you made is ignorant and facile.

    Your original comment compared YOUR interpretation of what germ theory is based on, to the utterly specious claim made in the ad that Ed’s OP was about.

    Germ theory was based on the best science of its time. Science makes room for inquiry and allows for change, woo doesn’t. You’re full of shit on this one and so you’re moving the goal posts. Fuck you, you’re a liar.

  27. lofgren says

    I realize that you are resorting to your time honored and despicable habit of refusing to admit that some ignorant and facile comment you made is ignorant and facile.

    No. Do I need to quote myself and walk you through my statements like you are a child? You are not responding to my actual claim in any way, but rather to something you think I am saying which my actual statements do not remotely support.

    Your original comment compared YOUR interpretation of what germ theory is based on, to the utterly specious claim made in the ad that Ed’s OP was about.

    I am not comparing my “interpretation” of germ theory to the woo. I’m comparing germ theory to the woo and arguing that they are similar only in that both are complex, confusing, and equally incredible claims. Yes, they are separated by a hundred years of scientific support. I am by no means arguing that they are equally likely to be true. Only that they are equally plausible on their face, both being extraordinary claims about the function of the world.

    Germ theory was based on the best science of its time.

    You do realize that germ theory hasn’t gone anywhere, right? It’s still based on the best science of its time. This is neither here nor there as to it’s believability to the scientifically illiterate. The fact that it is based on the best science doesn’t make it any more plausible to a person who doesn’t know the science or doesn’t trust the scientists. Scientific knowledge isn’t magic. It has to be taught. More than that, the whole method of critical thinking and evaluation has to be built from the ground up.

    Science makes room for inquiry and allows for change, woo doesn’t.

    Totally irrelevant to my claim.

    You’re full of shit on this one and so you’re moving the goal posts. Fuck you, you’re a liar.

    I challenge you to cite one claim I have made that has changed over the course of our conversation, and one lie that I have told. Here is my original claim:

    If you are scientifically ignorant, you have to accept both propositions on faith. Neither seems any more absurd than the other to me. Reality is as weird as any woo.

    Here is my claim the last time I restated it:

    I’m comparing germ theory to the woo and arguing that they are similar only in that both are complex, confusing, and equally incredible claims. Yes, they are separated by a hundred years of scientific support. I am by no means arguing that they are equally likely to be true. Only that they are equally plausible on their face, both being extraordinary claims about the function of the world.

    Practically identical.

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