Facebook Spam Pushes Users to Vent Ire on Twitter16 Nov 2011
The latest post to go viral on Facebook is not the ‘Java Life’ Rap or the open letter to a Delhi boy by the Madrasan.
“The Hackers are putting sexual videos to Ur name in the Walls/Profiles of Ur friends without U knowing it. U don't see it, but other people can see it, as if these were a Publication that U made!! Also they are sending inbox msgs to Ur friends asking U to click a Link.. Don't Do It !! So if U receive something from me, it's not me.” These are the posts people are putting up on their wall in response to explicit and violent images that have popped up in the news feeds of many Facebook users over the past couple of days.
According to the senior technology consultant at Sophos, Graham Cluley’s blog post ‘The content, which includes explicit hardcore porn images, photoshopped photos of celebrities such as Justin Bieber in sexual situations, pictures of extreme violence and even a photograph of an abused dog, have been distributed via the site - seemingly without the knowledge of users.’
Users turned to Twitter to vent their ire on this issue, which is just the latest in the list of security lapses that have marred the Facebook story.
‘Facebook should spend less time changing and focus on stopping all the spam’ wrote a twitter user with the handle @rene.
‘I’m so paranoid of this Facebook spam i wont even click on anyone's pictures or videos anymore’ tweets @Imtooswavey.
‘The spam pics popping up on the Facebook home page are horrific. Keep your children off until Facebook can fix it’ advises @melanishock.
@KryshaBravo takes this even further and tweets- ‘I sign into facebook and the 1st thing I see is a dead dog. My relationship with facebook is now over.’
Facebook has apparently confirmed the attacks and said it had "dramatically limited the damage" and was on the trail of those responsible. Speculations and unconfirmed rumors are also abound on the involvement of the hacker group ‘Anonymous’ in this attack on Facebook, as they had earlier issued a statement that the social networking site is on their hit-list.
It is still unclear as to how many users have been affected by these offensive posts but with 800 million users the scope for damage is surely huge.
On his blog, Cluley notes that ‘So, it seems highly offensive spam content has successfully spread via Facebook for 24 hours or more. It's precisely this kind of problem which is likely to drive people away from the site. Facebook needs to get a handle on this problem quickly, and prevent it from happening on such a scale again.’
Not only do these incidents put an individual’s image at risk but there is also the question of corporate security. Many organizations do not restrict access to such social networking sites and Cluely raises a larger question that has been up for a lot of debate-‘what happens when hardcore pornographic and offensive content is being spread. Should companies block access to sites hosting offensive content?’
And as far as Facebook is concerned maybe they should rethink letting the users control the privacy and security settings.
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