This morning I woke up to find a pair of interesting Facebook messages from a friend of mine. After a while I came to realize they were spam, but there’s three things I found interesting:
1. Use of Digg links
The spam link itself appears to be the link to a digg entry. I immediately assumed it would be a digg article page, but was actually a redirect service digg offers, similar to http://bit.ly and the like. Above, the link took me to a berry diet site of some kind. Obviously these links are simple to make by just submitting a story to digg, and they immediately look credible. It’s weird how as the web becomes more and more share-y and more susceptible to spam, we’ve somehow managed to make it MORE dangerous with all these redirection services that can fool even the most savvy users.
2. Mutual friend names
You’ll notice that the message from Mitchell includes a reference to “Alana,” which might be simply a random name, but more likely the spambot looked up the mutual friends between Mitchell and I and found the first one (A) and included it in the message going out to his address book. This provides another level of authenticity to the message, and further convinces the user that it isn’t spam.
3. Facebook deleted the messages
So this is all fine and dandy, but what I find especially disconcerting is that, while I had seen the two messages this morning, they had disappeared from my Facebook Inbox by tonight. I didn’t touch them, and was going to ask Mitch about them later, but found them gone online. The above image was from my iPod which I snapped before turning my WiFi on. Obviously it’s no big surprise that Facebook, as the totalitarian messenger service, Facebook has the power to wipe out any spam they see cropping up on their network, with or without your consent. This probably isn’t a big deal to most users, but make no mistake that Facebook is by no means a replacement for email, because email by definition works in an adhoc manner. Mail jumps from one server to the next to get delivered, and there is very little one single provider can to to stop the flow of that email, which is not the case with Facebook messages.
I’m no one for huge conspiracy theories, but I haven’t been a huge fan of Facebook’s invasion on my life, despite by habits of using it excessively. Remember that Facebook can screw with your mind more than you think. Stay aware folks!