If you are one of the people who received a spam like on a comment you left on my site yesterday, I’m sorry. I’ve noticed this happening elsewhere on WordPress but this is the first time I’ve seen it on one of my posts (Hay Time In The Dales).
After seeing a small flurry of spam likes, you may have noticed that I responded swiftly by inactivating the ability to leave likes against comments on my blog for the time being.
Some spammers (often with obviously dodgy numerical, rude or Russian addresses like the one above) are finding their kicks by going through our posts and liking every comment. Sadly, this doesn’t mean they are really enjoying the conversation, they just take a pleasure in being pesky. They’re hoping you’ll be curious enough when you see the notification that they’ve liked your comment to visit their blog. I’m hoping with all my heart that you won’t. They don’t deserve our attention.
How to disable comment likes on a WordPress.com site
If you experience spam likes too and want to take action, here’s how you can turn comment likes off for your whole site. I’m using a computer, so your screen may be arranged differently if you’re using the app or a phone.
Step 1. Go to ‘My Sites’ (the admin section of your site).
Step 2. Read down to find the ‘Configure’ section:
Step 3. Click on ‘Sharing’.
Step 4. You’ll see a section that starts like this:
Step 5. Click on ‘Sharing Buttons’ to activate the tab to see your options.
Step 6. Find the Options section of the page, which begins like this:
Step 7: Tick ‘Comment Likes’ on or off as required – i.e. if you want to make sure nobody can leave comment likes on your site, leave the tick box blank as shown above.
Step 8: (An important final touch) Click on the ‘Save Changes’ button at the bottom of the Options section to activate your changes.
What this means in practice
You’ll still be able to like the post itself and leave a comment, but as comment likes are no longer activated, you’ll not be able to visit my blog (or any other one where comment likes are disabled) and like any of the comments. After a bit of testing, it seems we can still like each others comments via our notifications if we choose to – comment likes are just private now and won’t appear on the blog. This should prevent a spammer from running down them all on the post itself and ‘liking’ them.
If you think another blogger’s comment was particularly interesting and want to let them know, you’ll still be able to reply to them in a comment. Akismet monitors comments on my site, as on most WordPress sites, and protects us from suspected spammers.
Threads in the help forums tell us that WordPress have been aware of the issue for a while and are trying to find a workaround to deal with the problem. Sadly, the idiots that think leaving spam likes will be beneficial to them have time on their hands and are persistent, so at the moment we are witnessing a kind of war where the good force wins, then the bad force tries something slightly different.
When WordPress comes out on top, I’ll change the setting, so you might notice me experimenting a little over the next few weeks.
I’m sad to have to do this, but happy we have the option if our sites are targeted. The small courtesy of being able to like a comment is one I appreciated, so you can be sure I’ll switch comment likes back on again as soon as it seems safe to do so.