Of contests and fake accounts


by Chua Wei Ling

Facebook contests are a dime a dozen, and these days, more and more people are participating in them too, because it is much easier than the traditional method of filling up a contest form and mailing it out. Yet, while these contests are plenty, there’s something else that is great in numbers as well – the number of fake accounts participating.

Gone are the days that people only maintain one single social media account – in fact, it isn’t uncommon that a single person has 2 – 3 accounts at all! For some, more than one account is maintained, perhaps for separating work contacts from their social circle as they may post different contents. For others, these multiple accounts are used on the premise that one of such accounts is for participating in social media giveaways by various oraganizations, and there are a number of reasons for this course of action.


Majority of social media contests require participants to like and/or share their posts, in hopes that by doing so, the social circle of the participants will get to know about the contests as well and thus drive up the traffic of the fanpages for the organization hosting the contests. Yet, when the participants do so, they may also create a stigma to themselves as their friends may laugh at them for taking part in certain contests. As such, to avoid this scenarios, they create new accounts for themselves, and perhaps, new names and identities.


As mentioned, people can create new names and identities on the internet, and as long as the name sounds legit, most sites do not really check the authenticity of the account. Thus, whether the person’s name on social media reflect their real name in reality is anyone’s guess. It is also because of this reason, that a person may have multiple accounts to take part in contests, but no one really knows which is his/her real name as they may be none!

Then of course there are those who create accounts with real names – the only problem it being accounts for their mother, their father, their grandmother, their grandfather – …and the list goes on and on and on…. – just for the sake of authenticity and spreading the ‘claims’ should they win the prizes. (Ultimately, it’s only one single person winning though)


With more and more people joining in on the contests, it isn’t long before a pattern is observed. In almost every single contest, there would be a same group of participants that would appear. What happens is that these people end up forming a group, and so long as there’s one contest and one of them joins, all of them will know about it – therefore spreading their chances of getting picked.

So for those of you who take part in online contests, chances are, you’re put off by these names that keep repeating themselves. But fret not – many social media managers tend to prefer ‘genuine’ entries, so if you’re not a ‘serial contestant’ or part of a ‘contest syndicate’, you’ll very likely be picked over them. The difficulty here is that once you’re hooked onto ‘winning’, you too may inevitably end up entering 10 contests a day.