Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Another reason I don’t “like” Facebook

My anti-spam colleague from Microsoft, Terry Zink, posts about a Facebook-related scam that’s being sent around. You see that one of your Facebook friends likes an odd-looking web page. You click on the link, and you find that it is, indeed, a questionable site, and one that’s probably going to try to load malware onto your computer. Maybe you proceed, and get infected; maybe you’re smart enough to leave without damage.

And, of course, Facebook isn’t responsible for what your friends like.

Ah, but there’s the trick. Probably, your friend didn’t click anything to say she liked it at all. Probably, she did what you, a smart Facebook user, did: she left as soon as she saw that it was garbage. But this is when it becomes a Facebook problem:

Of course, the fact that I now clicked on the link now has it showing up in my Facebook Friends’ newsfeed. Apparently, I now like the xxx link. I know this because a friend pinged me this morning alerting me to the fact that this occurs. So, if you click on this link, my friends, you will automatically like this link and it will show up in your Friends’ newsfeed.

That Facebook allows this to happen — allows a web site to be set up to auto-like itself when a logged-on Facebook user visits it — is a Facebook problem, and is another example of why I dislike Facebook.[1]

Of course, many users use the like feature so promiscuously as to make it useless. For them, auto-liking doesn’t matter, because their Facebook friends can’t (and don’t care to) put any stock in what they like. But for other users, things like this can be a real drawback — at best, making others think you’re a moron, and at worst, drawing others into the scam, and luring them into malware infections.

That’s why I prefer telling people what I like and why, in my own style, and dislike binary like flags.

[1] And I use like, here, in the traditional English sense, as well as the Facebook sense.

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