Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

Discussing Internet security in (mostly) plain English

Facebook: I need to be more careful

Facebook: I need to be more careful

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The other day on Facebook, I kind of accidentally spammed my friends.  Here's what I mean:

I got one of those Quiz invitations from one of my friends asking me to answer one of their questions, how well do I know them?  It may have been "What's my favorite color?"  I wanted to guess and answer the question.  Unfortunately, like virtually all Facebook applications, I had to first "install" it.  I rarely, if ever, install these applications because I don't want to clutter up my Profile page with all these lame applications.  There are also some malicious applications that will do stuff to your system.

I decided to click through a little further to see if maybe I could answer the question without installing it.  I was wrong; I had to first install it.  I then got to the page where when you're almost ready to do it, it first asks you if you want to spam all of your friends by inviting them to take your quiz/play your game/play this game, etc.  By default, the checkboxes of all your friends are checked.  If you click "Continue" it installs the application and then spams all of your friends with your own quiz invitation.

In almost all cases, I normally stop clicking because I don't want to install the application.  If I do choose to continue (which I have a couple of times) I uncheck all of my friends.  I don't want to annoy them.  But this time, rather than clicking Cancel I accidentally clicked Continue.  "No!" I shouted, but it was too late.  I clicked "Cancel" on my web browser, but it was too late.  I had spammed all of my friends to take my own Quiz invitation for how well they know me.  Sigh, next time I have to be more careful.

But you can see the similarity to spamming.  By not opting out of application to send the notice to all my friends, I was basically opting in.  This is very similar to eMarketers who take the position that not opting out is the same as opting in.  The moral of the story is to watch what you click, even within walled gardens like Facebook.

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  • So you don't ,not want to wish to send this to all of your friends - No? (^_^)

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