Facebook considered harmful (at least by itself)

A propos the social worm "Secret Crush" that was prompting users to unwittingly download spyware, Facebook in blocking the widget over abusing its terms of use, is saying this:

Users should employ the same precautions while downloading software from Facebook applications that they use when downloading software on their desktop.

Which basically means that Facebook (and your data on it) is secure as crap. At least someone had to set things straight, good to see it's coming from Facebook itself.

4 Comments

Well, they're called "Facebook Apps" for a reason: they're apps, and unknown apps are dangerous :) But, honestly, saying that Facebook is insecure because a third-party app can display a link to download spyware is bullshit; any link from anywhere on the web can be dangerous, and this has nothing to do with Facebook.

There may be reasons to be wary of putting your personal data on Facebook, but the Secret Crush app (it's not a worm; it doesn't replicate by itself) is not an example of that at all.

@garoo: Secret Crush is described by everybody as a social worm, because it spreads (replicate) by tricking people into sending it to five of their "friends".

Pun was intended, but this is no more bullshit than Facebook's Dan Rose pretending that there is no spam on Facebook because friends don't spam themselves. QED ;-). Nor is it more bullshitting that pretending to draw an artificial line between FB and FB Apps, I don't care which one is the culprit, as won't care all (but yourself) of FB users when faced with a security issue on FB. Secret Crush wouldn't exist without FB, and most people don't read (even less care about) the warnings and fine prints that FB presents to them when installing an app recommended by one of their "friends".

I do consider FB harmful, and those stories of abuse of privacy data thanks to both FB and its apps will continue to multiply.

I don't care that everybody calls Secret Crush a worm :)

I disagree that most users don't see the line between FB and FB Apps: while the privacy thing when installing an app becomes an automatic "yes" just like any other security prompt on any computer system, I think it does serve its purpose of reminding everyone of the distinction.

I think saying "Secret Crush wouldn't exist without FB" is abusive, because any website that allows their users to put a simple "a href=" in their profile could end up having links to spyware in their pages; and it's obviously unrealistic to ask a social network to remove simple links from user profiles in this day and age. So where do you draw the line? You don't draw the line, you just write your knee-jerk reaction based on your dislike for FB, and not anything objective.

The bottomline is, this one story is not part of "those stories of abuse of privacy data." It has nothing whatsoever to do with the users' personal data.

If you want to think so. It's just the tip of the iceberg.

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