Scams & Deception

Sick Children Facebook Donation Scams in 2013

Sick Children Facebook Donation Scams in 2013

Scams claiming that Facebook is donating for likes or shares continue to plague the social network. Today we are taking a look at some of the more ubiquitous examples in 2013.

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In early 2012 we first discussed the practice engaged by some Facebook page admins who post photos of sick or injured children. They often include fake sob stories, claiming that Facebook will donate for shares, likes, and comments. They also often include guilt-ridden innuendos for those who are uncaring enough not not to like or share the image. Despite outcry by sites such as this and outraged Facebook users, it appears that this practice is actually on the rise again in mid-2013. Let’s take a look at a couple of recent examples.

“Open Heart” Baby

Consider the photo of a girl who had open heart surgery, posted on Reddit in April 2013 with the caption, “Hello Kitty makes everything better – my 2 year-old daughter less than 24 hours post open heart surgery.”

It only took about a week to show up on Facebook  – without the real story behind it. We spotted it on a page which posted in on May 8, 2013, with the following caption:

1 Like = 40$

1 Comment = 20$

1 Share = 10 $

Please Don’t Ignore

“Car Accident” Baby
Another recent incarnation of this scam is the “car accident” photo in which we are shown what appears to be a bruised child, with claims that Facebook will donate to the child’s care for each like or share.


This baby was in a horrible Car “Accident” And his Parent’s don’t have enough money to pay his Treatment so we’re sending money to him ! Please don’t ignore !

Like = 10$
Share = 15$
please don’t ignore if you have a heart </3

This child in this photo is Casun Buswell, who was not in an accident at all, but instead suffers from a rare condition known as Glomuvenous malformation (GVM). There is a fundraiser on the boy’s behalf (see link at bottom of this page), but it certainly isn’t in the form of Facebook likes and shares.

Facebook Math

The math of such posts is ludicrous. Take a look at what would be donated (as of this writing) if one of these posts were true:

Open Heart Baby has 663,684 likes, 67,412 shares, and 25,872 comments

663,684 x $40 = $26,547,360
67,412 x $10 = $674,120
25,872 x $20 = $517,440
Grand total = $27,738,920

How realistic is a Facebook donation of $27 million to a baby who already had heart surgery?

Why do they do it?

The main question we are asked is why someone would post a clearly fabricated story alongside an unrelated photo of an ailing child. The answer is that it is solely for the purpose of gaining likes and shares, which increases the page’s popularity. And what better way than by pulling at the heartstrings of users with a sick child?

In some cases these are posted by unscrupulous pages admin who want to boost their page’s popularity. In other cases, it is perpetrated by people who sell Facebook pages for profit, and will create this “popularity” by any means possible.

What can I do?
If you see a photo like this being liked or shared, report the photo or page as “spam or scam.” Do not share, like, or comment on it. If you see a friend interacting with such an image, let them know it is fake.

Bottom Line
Facebook does not, has not, and will not donate money for likes or shares. If you see someone making such a claim, they are spreading false information.

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