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Social Networks Advertising Facebook Your Rights Online

Users Can't Distinguish Scams From Facebook's Features 116

Anyone who's seen social media sites like Facebook has probably also seen scam ads that promise new features or insider access to the sites themselves. rudy_wayne writes Zdnet reports that a new whitepaper from antivirus company Bitdefender, which examined 850,000 Facebook scams over two years, shows that Facebook's own user experience enables these scams to flourish. The researchers found that scammers have infected millions of users with the same tricks over and over again — just repackaged. The most common tricks, such as 'Guess who viewed your profile (45.5 percent)' and 'change your background color' (29.53 percent) rely on a combination of the obsessions encouraged by the Facebook experience, and a general lack of understanding about Facebook's functionality — which, as most users know, is a constantly moving target. Users would be none the wiser that a given scam isn't just a new "feature" or another of Facebook's psychological experiments being done on users.
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Users Can't Distinguish Scams From Facebook's Features

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 06, 2014 @10:28AM (#48325057)

    The others are just playing catch-up

    • by bondsbw ( 888959 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @10:44AM (#48325179)

      Advertisements should always be marked as such. I do not trust any service that does otherwise. (Not that this was the only thing keeping me from trusting Facebook.)

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Advertisements themselves are a scam that we have come to accept.

        The very fact that one needs to disclose that they are advertisements shows the problem.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Launch your own business. I guarantee your attitude towards advertisement will change.

        • How is an advertisement a scam? If I have a product or service for sale, and I give you the information about them in an advertisement, where is the scam?
      • Facebook does mark advertisements as such and always has, as far as I know.

    • Nah, Facebook is a self-updating contacts list that allows you to be able to contact your old acquaintances even when they move, change their phone number and email, and get married and change their name. And if you don't have an account, Facebook makes a shadow account for you; your old friends can't see it but advertisers can. It doesn't hurt any to make an account, if you take the right precautions against being tracked (see all those websites where it shows your facebook picture and lets you post "witho

  • by Mysticalfruit ( 533341 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @10:32AM (#48325091) Homepage Journal
    Is to not play at all.
    • Or play responsibly. Don't make your main page ("wall?") look like a Christmas tree, keep a tight cover on who's in which group, don't accept a gazillion "friends", keep a low profile, update only when you have to (something important, worth sharing, happens) and you'll be fine.
      Those who fall for such scams don't use the system, they are the ones being used, they're fodder and none the wiser.

      • by TWX ( 665546 )
        But that's completely contrary to the purpose and function of Facebook. If the tool wasn't intended to be used like that then it wouldn't be set up to allow on to use it like that. Come to think of it, just about every form of personal vanity webpage host with some form of included WSYWIG editor to have ever existed, going all of the way back to Geocities, has been like this.

        The only winning move is not to play.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          If the tool wasn't intended to be used like that then it wouldn't be set up to allow on to use it like that.

          Funniest comment on Slashdot today.

          You know all those potential system exploits that every system has? Those are because the main concern of developers is "does it do what we want it to?" not "does it only do what we want it to?" The main concern of QA is whether it can do what they want it to without developer-level knowledge of the system. The main concern of management is getting things "done" so they can become revenue sources (or for OSS, reputation sources).

          So, no, a tool's intended use and its pot

        • by war4peace ( 1628283 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @12:14PM (#48325887)

          The function and purpose of Facebook is what I want it to be. That's the trap I was talking about.
          If it allows you to share all your shit, it doesn't mean you HAVE to.

      • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

        keep a low profile, update only when you have to

        From personal experience I suspect that FB prioritizes the visibility of your updates by other people based on how frequently you post - thus rewarding those people who post the most (crap).

      • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @11:30AM (#48325539)

        Facebook has a known history of changing security settings, so safe today is not safe tomorrow. Almost every major security change has been done via stealth, leaving users to race to go fix things after the fact. This is just a behavior problem with the company so not the same issue as TFA is discussing, but worth mentioning since "playing safe" is impossible when a company intentionally circumvents all of your efforts to be "responsible".

        The design of Facebook is such that you can't play safe. Conversations are ordered based on "likes", not based on chronology. So you have to get "likes" to be seen in a crowd, and you gain more "likes" by expanding your profile to more and more people. Anyone wanting to be seen has to open their profile to more and more people in order to compete, so the design is to not have tight control over who can see your information. In fact control is discouraged (and what gets broken most frequently in security changes). Contrary to your last sentence, scams happen to appeal to the people that use the system exactly as intended and designed (the point of TFA).

        The implementation of the moronically named "Timeline" feature which removed chronological based dialogue and replaced it with "like" based dialogue was when I stopped using Facebook all together. Prior to that, I agree that Facebook could have been used for conversations with smaller groups. Even if no "likes" are assigned to comments algorithms order your post based on content Facebook wants to be popular. Cat memes will top political dialogue if the viewership is a high enough threshold for Facebook to notice.

        In the words of Nancy Reagan, "Just say No!". (probably showing my age with that quote, so get off mah lawnz!)

      • is even if you don't have a profile, like me, other people will post pictures of you and information about you which they collate, analyze, and sell as well (without your permission or direct interaction with them).

        So, not playing isn't effective unless everyone you know also respects your not wanting to be there, and most won't, even if unintentionally.

        • So you're saying Fecesbook allows people to be idiots? What a surprise :)
          It's not Facebook's fault there, it's people being dickheads and not respecting your privacy.

        • So, not playing isn't effective unless everyone you know also respects your not wanting to be there, and most won't, even if unintentionally.

          Just to be clear, you have asked people that you know not to tag you in photos that they post and they do so anyway?

          • Just to be clear, you have asked people that you know not to tag you in photos that they post and they do so anyway?

            Yeah. And I've given people pictures that I took and asked them not to put them on Facebook and they do it anyway. Or they take photos and put it up without really letting you know. It's creepy.

            But even if they don't, they allow Facebook to scrape their phone of all the contact numbers, so Facebook knows who my friends are because, well, the same 10 people who are friends with one another

    • Not an option. You're in whether you like it or not. Let's see... another 2 dollar ATM fee ought to cover any incidents...

    • Nuke'em from orbit?

  • Who? (Score:5, Funny)

    by ThatsDrDangerToYou ( 3480047 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @10:32AM (#48325097)
    Who are these Facebooks and why are they on my internets?
    • Who are these Facebooks and why are they on my internets?

      I'm not entirely sure, but one of them just pooped on your lawn and then told five of his friends about it.
      • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

        I'm not entirely sure, but one of them just pooped on your lawn and then told five of his friends about it.

        But you can stop them with this one weird trick...

    • I'm pretty sure they're friends with the mysterious hacker, 4chan.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 06, 2014 @10:33AM (#48325101)

    I can't tell Facebook vs a scam... both ask for personal information, promise a fantastic experience that is never delivered, and sell my personal information for a profit...
    I can see why people struggle to differentiate the two.

    • by IMightB ( 533307 )

      I was going to say roughly the same thing, I can't tell facebook from a scam anymore either they're basically the same thing.

    • I wish I had mod points... This is so true and also so funny.
    • by ignavus ( 213578 )

      I can't tell Facebook vs a scam... both ask for personal information, promise a fantastic experience that is never delivered, and sell my personal information for a profit...
      I can see why people struggle to differentiate the two.

      Any commercially greedy social medium is indistinguishable from malware.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Yes. You should click on this to see how naive those Facebook users can be. Ha. Ha. Made you RTFAd.

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @11:05AM (#48325375) Homepage
    Facebooks demands a huge invasion of privacy for a rather minimal set of features. Basically, you can get everything it offers elsewhere, for free, just giving up the 'single sign in', that lets them track you across everything. In other words, Facebook is itself a scam.

    So it is not surprising that people that willing accept one scam, can not distinguish other scams from the official, approved scam they intentionally use.

    • I've used a fake last name for over a year now, never uploaded a single photo of me, disallowed tagging of me in photos, and never gave it a single interest or music profile or dating status or any of that crap. So keep in mind that that's an option too.
      • Ever here the term "the exception that proves the rule?" Your use of Facebook is a prime example. How you use Facebook - and the fact that most people do not do this - proves Facebook is a scam.
  • by Sir_Eptishous ( 873977 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @11:10AM (#48325419) Homepage

    rely on a combination of the obsessions encouraged by the Facebook experience, and a general lack of understanding about Facebook's functionality — which, as most users know, is a constantly moving target.

    The FB UI is half the reason I don't have an account.
    Thier UI is so CLUTTERED, so absolutely ANNOYING, with a constant FIREHOSE of SHIFTING posts, videos, content, etc, etc;

    I get a headache just thinking about it...

    Combine that with, as the article points out, the fact that their settings change constantly.
    I honestly don't have the time or inclination to become a CFE(Certified Facebook Engineer) just to watch cat videos and read nutty political rants...

    • by mlts ( 1038732 )

      The ironic thing is that in the past, their clean UI is one reason why people moved from MySpace to FB, because MySpace had just so much clutter that it sometimes was too much like a ytmnd reject.

  • That's because... there is no difference.
    Facebook features are scams.

  • by Lendrick ( 314723 ) on Thursday November 06, 2014 @11:40AM (#48325619) Homepage Journal

    Ads have been pretending to be part of website user interfaces forever now. A good website would ban those kinds of ads, but Facebook's customers (the advertisers) pay top dollar for unfettered access to Facebook's main commodity (its users). The only way that's ever going to change is if people start to leave Facebook in droves, but unfortunately it's the primary way that Gen X, Gen Y, and older Millenials communicate with each other. It's going to be a couple decades yet before Facebook's primary users age into less valuable advertising demographics, and people have already shown that they're generally unwilling to jump ship for better platforms (Google Plus isn't great, but it's a hell of a lot less obnoxious than Facebook). Me, I deleted my Facebook account several years ago, and have never looked back.

    • Me, I deleted my Facebook account several years ago, and have never looked back.

      You think you deleted it....

  • Any hack of a bad interface is indistinguishable from the bad interface?

    (Original Poe's Law: Any parody of an extremist position is indistinguishable from the extremist position.)

  • Search Google for "hp support" or "sony drivers" or "microsoft support" or "firefox download." You'll see 2-3 ads for fraud, viruses, rigged download sites, etc. WHY THE HELL DOES GOOGLE ALLOW THIS?! They already got a gigantic fine for allowing illegal pharmaceutical ads. Why not block all these assholes running scams from buying ads? The same goes for Facebook. Since both companies are completely evil and make most of their money one way, the obvious answer is money. Those are hot, expensive keywor
  • Click here to turn off Beta

  • If you keep your perspective on what FB is, a superficial and very public cyber-hangout, then I think it's kind of fun to mess around on there. But then - I don't really care if someone figures out how to target an ad at me...
  • 2o year old fake tan retards who spent all day duck-facing half naked selfies of themselves aren't up on the latest cyberscam? Where do you get this crazy talk?

  • who could have guessed that users are so smart!?

  • If these people actually looked at where these URLs are going to take them (granted, less likely on mobile) and realized that being prompted for a password on a site where you are already logged in is suspicious, the impact would be much reduced. Facebook is basically a public website and all advertising and user supplied content has to be treated with the needed caution.

    I am curious how Facebook checks advertiser content and user posts for malicious behavior if anyone has details.

  • It's the only logical option. We know the scams aren't legit so if you can't tell the difference then they're all scams.
  • ...is not to play. You don't need facebook as much as you think you do, and the 500 people in your friends list are not really your friends.

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  • Don't use Facebook. If an email comes in asking for anything in regards to your Facebook account you know it is a scam. There really is no compelling reason to use Facebook or any other social networking site....other than wasting your time and getting p0wned.

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