OK COTHers… I’ve been trying to battle this alone and I’m having a really hard time getting anyone to give a hoot… especially facebook. This situation has me really creeped out because it’s so narrowly targeted and executed. Facebook is NOT doing anything about it- and they could seriously clean house if they were willing to- but for whatever creepy sinister reason- they won’t.
I wish I could alert the whole horseworld and that together we could push them out.
For starters, I’m going to intentionally mangle the name of the website and I’m going to implore you to not type the name of the website in a way which is searchable- because that will result in making it harder to run clean searches when I try to find posts coming from the spambots. Capisce?
Also- I’d advise you to not go to the website as it may have malware, it certainly has lots of ads. The website is hosted from the city of Vales Macedonia which is a known hotbed of hackery.
So anyway I am a member of a very narrow focus horse page, and two days in a row this beautiful redhead chick named Natasa posts videos to our group that ARE horse videos- but have nothing to do with our focus… to top it off- the videos are really violent awful movies of no redeeming equestrian value (a hidden camera of a stablehand beating a horse and a catastrophic racing accident) The videos are just lifted from youtube and hosted on a clickbait site called Horses (then the #ninetynine with no space) DOT com.
Annoyed, I reverse google image search her profile picture which goes back to a German Porn site. Her profile banner picture is a stolen stock photo with horses in it.
So then I check out “her” small but very good looking assortment of “friends” and a huge number of them are very good looking people posed with horses and with horses as the banner. All stolen professional pictures, many of them cluster so that you can actually see the search words the spambot builder used (“man with horse” ) to collect web pictures to use building the fake equestrian profiles. **also “man with beard” “man with fish”
One of the profiles stands out to me a bit different from the others- I reverse image search that photo and discover that both the photo and the woman’s actual name have been stolen off the webpage of a small town American business. I telephone the real woman to inform her about the imposter profile on FB (This was two weeks ago- the imposter profile is still active)
so then I think- if “Natasa” is posting links to the page I’m on… where else are she and her fake equestrian friends posting?
So I do a FB search for the name of the website- BAMMO- tons of results- equestrian spambots posting all over-posting horse themed clickbait video tied to a website with a name that has the word horses in it. It’s not like some guy named Sim Lau posting cheak oakley sunglasses… I mean screams spam- we get that… but Someone is going through the effort to make a fake horse website and then make fake horse profiles to push it into the horseworld? Why?? Hitting hard especially in the UK- on lots of local tack swap pages (which have suspiciously large memberships) They are just carpetbombing the horse world with their clickbait spam.
I’m not a member of these groups so I can’t warn them or discuss it with the moderators. I try joining a few of the groups and amazingly- some pages remove my warnings and allow the spambots and their posts to remain.----------- What to make of this? Honestly (I have my tin foil hat on) I think that these groups have gone rogue- either they were created by an entrepreneur with the intention to provide a gathering point of real horsepeople who could then be targeted-- or they were sold to someone-- or the permission to have access to the members was sold (there is a black market for such things) Pages with more members have a higher value and frequently pages pay for fake likes to boost their apparent popularity.
I recently found that the aforementioned Macedonian website also has created their own FB page which now has 6,607 members, up 1000 from last week. One of my own FB friends has liked the page and hasn’t unliked it even after I told her the whole thing is fakey coming out of Macedonia- maybe some of your friends have liked it too- its called * I Love My Horse *
If you are actually following this creepy tail and if you have looked to see with your own eyes the bits of the story- you will see that all of the photos on that page- are the same collection of photos used for the background banners of the fake profiles. All of the posts go to that one website. One big self fulfilling perpetual cycle of scamminess.
Oh… speaking of Cycles. Natasa also has a bunch of motorcycle friends. They are all georgous hipster male models with beards. They are doing the same thing in the motorcycle world- only the websites they are pushing are named with motorcycle names and baited with motorcycle videos.
And Natasa also has Snowmobile friends…
And Fishermen friends- who all have caught trophy fish and posed in pictures that appear on the covers of fishing magazines.
And they are all right there as plain as day and FB will not DO.A.THING. about it.
So check your groups- learn the MO. Pay attention and if you are a FB page moderator be alert, protect your members. I have explained how to work backwards. FB’s solution to report a SINGLE POST and then block YOURSELF from seeing any more from that one specific fake profile- does NOTHING to clean up a huge network of potential harm.
I have found another “family” of spambots associated with another website who somehow have stolen profile pictures which do not return in google image searches. I don’t know how they pulled that off- but I do know that assistant professors at Yale don’t pose for portraits with a duck face.