The Best Headlines Are Seldom True and Often Spam

With great popularity comes great exploitation.

Facebook has become its own universe, complete with web-based “email,” advertising, picture albums and now you can even book a flight from the social networking platform. But, with the rise of this interactive technology comes the invention of Facebook spam. As with web-based service, the potential for exploitation is there – and often capitalized on.

Since Facebook began allowing third party applications onto the site in mid-2007, the potential to use the wealth of information Facebook users place on their profiles for malicious purposes has become a reality. Because of the nature of Facebook as a social “sharing” site, it’s incredibly easy for spam to proliferate within the platform. Provide an enticing enough headline and people will click it (such as something touting a hippo being coughed up by an anaconda). Generally, such spammy posts will lead users to “allow” the application to infiltrate their profile, posting links to their wall, replicating the enticing headline in their status update, and then taking them to a survey – not even the promised video. The more people that take the survey, the more money the spammers make.

Unlike traditional spam, Facebook spam doesn’t necessarily try to sell you anything or steal your financial data; it exploits the social network in other ways. However, some of the technology can be exploited to spread malware, although this has yet to happen. Remember: if it sounds too good to be true (such as promises of the Facebook “dislike” button), it probably is.

To remove a rogue application that has been installed, follow these steps:

  1. Once logged in to your Facebook account, go to the Account dropdown menu in the upper right corner and select “Application Settings.”
  2. Find the rogue application and remove it from the list by clicking the “x” to the right. Confirm by clicking “Remove.”
  3. Go to your profile page and remove all links, status updates, and references of the rogue software so the spam doesn’t proliferate through your network of friends.

For more information on Facebook’s spam prevention systems, click here.





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