The following is a repost of a story we published last year with some updates to highlight new trends noticed in the past 12 months and some updated advice.
Social Media campaigns are now a very important part of publicising events. Facebook offers organisations the ability to create events which followers and fans can follow allowing them to be added to a personal calendar, receive the latest updates and interact. These can be highly effective ways to market your event. However the system is open to abuse by those wishing to exploit and defraud facebook users and also by third parties who may not wish to harm your event, but may inadvertently post fake or potentially damaging information about events.
Fraudulent Facebook Events
The past two years has seen almost all airshow events around the world targeted by scammers through the setting up of duplicate/fake Pages and Events on Facebook. The aim of many these fake pages and events is to sell access to either unofficial livestreams (often involving the relaying of the official livestream through a third party website) or are simple debit/credit card scams selling access to something that doesn’t exist.
The fake pages and events appear to be mostly set up by account holders in India and Asia and are being produced on an industrial scale targeting all manner of live events. They copy graphics used to build Official Facebook Fan pages to create a duplicate page. After setting up the fake facebook pages and events, they then target GENUINE facebook pages run by associated organisations such as DISPLAY TEAMS and ENTHUSIASTS by asking them to co-host the fake events there-by taking advantage of a genuine audience. This clearly could lead to reputational harm to the entire air display community.
How to spot a fraudulent Facebook Event if you are asked to co-host:
If you receive a request to co-host an event, the first thing you should do is check the page/organisation that is offering the ‘co-host.’ In the example below, we have been offered a ‘co-host request’ supposedly by Sunderland Airshow 2021, an event we know has been cancelled for 2021. Click the link to the page first BEFORE clicking to accept the co-host and look at the ‘About Section.’
The first indication that this is a fake page is the low number of likes – just 38. An established event such as Sunderland would normal register likes in the thousands if not much more. But perhaps the biggest tell-tale is in the About Section of the fake page. In the screenshot below, notice the unusual links, email and phone numbers.
If you spot one of these pages, please do report it to Facebook. If you click on the ‘three dots’ icon on the right hand side of the page you will find a link to report the fake page or event.
Please be wary of any invites to co-host events. If you are an event organiser with a facebook fan page, it is worth spending some time using the Facebook search function to see if your pages have been copied.
Other Third Party Facebook Events
Many of these are harmless. Some event participants and contractors create them to advertise their presence or involvement at your event. However some other third parties may create events to promote themselves and post inaccurate infomation. An example of a bad third party Facebook event is shown below (note it is not by the Event Organiser and contains a fake participant line-up full of TBAs and TBCs).
In most cases, it is worth simply contacting the event host and asking them to remove or modify their event so it doesn’t damage your event. Most will respond positively to your contact. If they do not, then you can proceed to reporting the event using the methods highlighted about for the fraudulent events.
Create you own official Facebook Event and share it was widely as possible!
The best way of combating unwanted Facebook events is to create one yourself and share it as widely as possible.
It is possible for third party to add your official events to thier own Facebook listing of upcoming events. Simply ask pages to add your event to their page. They can do this by clicking the ‘Three Dots’ button and clicking the “Add Event to Your Page” menu item. (See screenshot below)