Every few weeks there’s a new scam that makes the rounds on Facebook. This week it’s the “Find out who visits your profile,” scam, which we’ve all seen before. Here we take a deeper look at the scam to understand better what exactly the virus is trying to do and how we can all protect ourselves.
The virus works first by gaining access to your Facebook account. Unlike other methods for hacking, which involve somehow accessing your login credentials, this scam needs only for you to click a link posted on your wall or someone else’s wall. To entice you into clicking, the scam offers something lots of people would love to know, but Facebook doesn’t allow: a list of people who’ve viewed your profile. You might receive an e-mail notification that tells you a friend has posted a link on your wall with this context:
“LOL !! Me cant believe that you can see who is viewing your profile! I can see the TOP 10 people and I am really OPENMOUTHED that my EX is still checking my Pix and my Profile. You can also see WH0 CHECKS YOUR PR0FILE here)”
The most important thing to understand about this scam is that you should not click the link. If you don’t click the link and opt-in, the virus is rendered powerless. If you click the link, and you happen to be logged into your Facebook account when you do, the virus immediately goes to work posting the same link and content on your friends’ walls. There’s no way to stop it in progress — the only way to repair the damage is to visit each of your friends’ walls one-by-one and remove the post, or message all and hope they haven’t already clicked the link, as well.
Within social networks users are largely accountable for their own safety. The primary thing to remember: if you have any doubt, don’t click the link. Facebook offers this bit of advice:
“Always use caution when clicking on a link or opening an attachment, even if it’s been sent or posted by a friend or other reputable source. If you have any doubt, get confirmation directly from the sender. Be especially wary of messages that include attractive offers or urgent requests, and watch out for links that require you to immediately provide a login.
Dear FB Friends/Family: You can’t find out who saw your profile. You won’t see what you’ll look like in the future. You won’t know what that man saw when he walked in on his daughter. There are no free IPads. And you can’t see the video of Osama’s death… Not on Facebook. Please stop clicking the spam links and exposing yourself and friends to virus risks.via posterous
Join us for ‘Take Back Wanstead Flats’ on 2pm on Sunday 21 November. The Save Wanstead Flats campaign plans to use wooden stakes and tape to mark out the boundaries of the proposed police base on the Flats, in order to show just how much space it will swallow up in 2012. Maps or drawings can never make as much sense as… seeing its massive size for yourself but we’d prefer not to wait until construction starts and it’s too late… to stop these plans.
As you can see from the publicity, the message behind this event also harkens back to the historical opposition by local people to enclosure of the Flats. We hope people will see this as an opportunity to come along and celebrate in their own way our right to enjoy our open spaces – although it is late November, so we do recommend that people wrap up warmly!
Leaflets available to download from and A3 posters from – please ask local shops and businesses to put up a poster, or stick one up in your window (but no flyposting please, as it gets some of us in all sorts of trouble!)
This month sees Facebook rolling out major changes on their social networking structure, appearing to embrace the concept of social objects and placing them on a par with the people in the network, which is where they should be. The changes are modest in terms of technical functionality but potentially could be very big in effect, depending on how people come to use them.
Facebook Pages are Social Objects
cider page on facebook as a social object
Facebook’s “pages” with “fans” have been around for a year or so, but were implemented as poor relations to personal profiles, not having the ability to push updates out into the newstream. Anybody can create a page for any purpose, so pages can become anchors for topic based conversations, a bit like friendfeed rooms or Flickr groups. On the micro social objects scale, pictures, videos, discussions and status updates added to the Facebook pages will be broadcast out into fans news streams, with the potential for remarkable topics at the pages level to gain traction a lot more quickly than before.
Social Objects theory and Facebook
Social Objects theory says that successful social networking sites work best when they enable easy relationships between people and social objects, not just between people and other people. Facebook pages have unique permanent URLs which are expose to search engines, so they are very different from the original college student private profile pages Facebook was founded upon. It’s likely though that much of Facebook’s huge existing userbase is going to be a little confused by this big departure from the longstanding culture of limited exposure to vetted human nodes in the network (friends).
By the way, I’m using the term Social Objects here in it’s strictly European scientific sense, unlike the diluted idealist form that has muddied the theoretical waters somewhat in the past year or so.
Here’s a point of view that seems to be coming from a different perspective compared with much of what is written within that which is sometimes referred to as the “technorati blogosphere”. And just because of that, I think it’s worth taking notice. Stuart Dredge writes about Facebook and blogging:
Tech Digest: Opinion: Facebook is killing personal blogging When it launched, Vox was all about getting your mum and less tech-savvy friends to blog without needing a certificate in geekery. It’s a great, well-designed, easy-to-use service. Yet my friends and family aren’t on Vox; they’re on Facebook. One of my aunts is on Facebook. They don’t want to blog, but they do want to be part of a social network that lets them communicate in bite-sized chunks of text or media.And that’s the problem for blogging companies. People who’ve blogged in the past won’t necessarily dump LiveJournal or Blogger. But all those millions of new people who were supposed to take personal blogging into the mainstream? I don’t think that growth is going to happen.
Something seems to be working very well with Luke and Jof’s Blog Friends Facebook application, announced last month. The functionality has been increased to catch blogs from friends of friends, which makes the ‘discovery’ aspect a winner. ( Hint: I already my friends’ blogs anyway, unfiltered). There’s also an easy one click link to a blog post to be read from within Facebook. I hesitated about that for a second, but decided it’s a good thing – just like providing full posts in RSS feeds – as long as they don’t start enabling comments right there within Facebook, because then a blog on blog friends will have the potential to evolve as a split community – part inside Facebook and part outside on the internet. Maybe some people will figure out that’s OK, but I’ll be wary.
I’ve been tracking the membership growth with another Facebook app called “appsoholic” which today produced the graphs below. The previous time I noticed the growth was at 8% a day, which is very fast by most standards, but this has now increased to 10% a day which may indicate an accelerating rate of expansion. Well done!
That 10% puts blog friends in the top 40 of Facebook applications for daily growth rate, still according to appsaholic, whilst being ranked at 740 for size.