PSA: All the Facebook events for Falls 2021 - and some other events - are fake
Event spam and bot accounts on social media have gotten worse than ever. Don't let them fraud you out of a few hundred dollars.
We're going to get this out of the way nice and early and say yes, to some people, spotting fake events on Facebook is easy as. A lot of the time, it comes down to checking if the Facebook event is hosted by an official account - no, "Music Events Australia 2020 / 2021 Live Stream" aren't hosting Laneway Festival this year, believe it or not - and checking whether or not the event has been posted by official accounts with their tick of approval. For others, this isn't as obvious and/or they may not have much experience with Facebook events, making it a bit more difficult - and that's why we're writing this.
Long story short, festival and event organisers over the last few uears have become drowned in spam and bot accounts disrupting official event pages; it's why companies like Tixel - a ticket reselling company with 100% genuine and cross-checked tickets - have picked up so many co-signs of late, in a bid to prevent punters from being spammed out of tickets from fake Facebook profiles. They've gotten smarter recently, building out entire profiles with fake friends and statuses and everything, commenting on posts with photos and messages that they can no longer attend due to family emergencies or whatever else.
With event cancellations and a pick up in live streaming over the last twelve months, however, an entirely different problem has begun to emerge from the depths of social media's war against spam.
The first, is fake events. In the last few weeks alone, we've spotted fake festival events for Falls Festival, Laneway, Snack Perth, Origin Fields, Beyond The Valley and others; event pages built out with entirely fake dates, ticket links, line-ups, further details, cover photos - right down to event posts, teasing lineup additions and food selections. Some of the biggest of these fake events have almost 20,000 people clicked going or interested, with posts inside the event racking up hundreds of comments and friend tags.
Take this one seemingly promoting Falls Festival's Fremantle leg, for late-February 2021. There are almost 17,000 people 'attending' this event, and many of them wouldn't bat an eyelash of its genuineness. They have an event photo, a seemingly feasible location in Fremantle (albeit one Falls Festival have never used), tickets links, information links, and even further details on the other Falls Festival shows over east. Who knows how many of the near-17,000 people attending have clicked on the suspicious ticket link? Or given information - bank card information, even - to a fake ticket portal to buy fake tickets for this fake event?
Example of Fake Event:
The second problem is live streaming events. For every real, actually-happening music event on Facebook, is multiple phishing links disguised as events to "live stream the show." On Facebook, there are countless events built about faux live streams, promising free access to a show or festival by clicking on a suspicious, definitely-not-real link when the show kicks off; including 'live streams' of small concerts, festivals, right through to live stream events of fake festivals that other spammers have built, creating this weird meta inception of shitty social media trickery.
So, how can you spot what events are fake, and which ones are real? In the case of that aforementioned Falls Fremantle event, there are a few tip-offs. The first, is that Falls Festival isn't even happening this year; the festival postponing their 2020/2021 event due to ongoing state and national restrictions due to coronavirus. There's also the event host - Falls Festival 2021, a fake page with only a few hundred likes - being a potential tip-off, and the lineup, which is actually their 2019/2020 lineup headlined by Halsey, Vampire Weekend and Disclosure.
But if you didn't know Falls was cancelled this year and you didn't pay attention to last year's lineup, the fake event looks awfully real. Compare it to Splendour In The Grass' 2021 event for example, which has everything the fake Falls Festival event has - line-ups, ticket links, cover photos, etc. - except coming from a genuine page (the Splendour In The Grass official page), with a genuine Moshtix ticket link. It's difficult to spot, for those not really accustomed to the music events world.
Keep an eye out for your mates clicking attending on these events; send 'em messages telling them that the pages are fake and not to buy tickets; flick 'em over the real events for shows that are happening. Friends don't let friends get scammed.