Archive for category Spam
We’ve heard this one before. Seriously.
Yet they keep telling us the same story all over again. Now Facebook doesn’t seem to know how to police itself in order to maintain its own privacy policies. Undoubtedly, they’re scrambling to fix the problem now that it’s become known, but you’d think they would be looking to make sure that this sort of thing didn’t happen in the first place.
Strictly speaking, the problem isn’t Facebook’s fault, because they don’t control the apps that people use. However, they do still bear responsibility since the apps in question are transmitting user IDs of people on Facebook. That’s why people may find that their favorite games aren’t working for a while – Facebook is shutting down (at least temporarily) the apps that have been giving out that data, either deliberately or unknowingly.
Now I don’t honestly want to sound like I’m out to get Facebook, because I’m not. They’re working to fix the problem, and they’re being moderately upfront about it (although I didn’t find out about this because of them telling me). The thing is, though, that they’ve been taking a lot of heat lately, especially in the category of the privacy of the site’s users. Spam is a violation of privacy if you have to deal with it. Coordinating the site with ski lodges can reduce your level of privacy. Getting placed in groups without your consent, and sometimes without your knowledge, is a privacy issue.
The point is, people may not realize it, but Facebook is in trouble. Heck, people are even starting to experiment with “what if we gave up the site for a while”. The company recently quintupled its stock – that is, cut the value of each stock by 5 & said that everyone had 5 times as much stock as they did before. That’s a lot of financial success, and we’ve seen before just how dangerous that can be for a software company – Microsoft, anyone?
Personally, I like Facebook, even though they seem to change the format on me every few months. It helps me keep in touch with people that have moved out of the direct spheres of my life. But if they don’t stop letting these problems slip past their screening, people are going to start hating the service every bit as actively as they do all the software giants that have gotten so successful that people got sick of them.
It’s worth thinking about, just how much spam is floating around the Internet these days. With the threat of various malevolent software attacks, it’s probable that half of what you come across has ties (direct or indirect) to viruses or worms. However, a lot of stuff is just there so that someone can try to draw attention to themselves or to something that they’re trying to push – albeit very sloppily.
Most email systems have had spam filters for several years now, in order to help people to avoid sifting through all the unwanted emails that are sent out like a net to see what can be reeled in. However, that’s not the only place you’ll see spam. Odds are, if you have a blog of your own, you have to cope with spam comments, too.
Even social media sites like Twitter and Facebook aren’t immune, though on Facebook it comes more in the form of friend requests from people you’ve never met and who may not even exist. That brings home the problem with spam, though: It’s not the fact that it’s everywhere that’s the problem, it’s the fact that even the most benign examples aren’t actually out to help you with anything. Instead, they’re there because someone wants something from you.
And so they go around, like thousands of barnacles drifting through the currents of the Internet, attaching to whatever seems a likely way to make a buck or just sending out runners to whomever they’ve gotten a little contact information on – sometimes purely by accident, even. That’s why it appears in such large quantities all over the place.
Everyone knows spam is annoying, and most people don’t even bother to check it out when it comes up. It just gets deleted, because we already know that it’s not worth our time to look at it. This pervasiveness is a good demonstration of what’s so wrong with it. It’s taking up space to try to steal your attention, bandwidth that could be better used for just about anything because the attention sought isn’t gained.
Which really begs the question: why do people bother cranking out so much spam, since most people are only going to trash it as soon as they get it? Largely, it’s because not everyone does. Spam has been proven to be a fairly effective marketing strategy, as long as the ads can come up with interesting subject lines. Unfortunately, that means it’s not going to stop any time soon.
All we can do is work to improve spam filters, refuse to send it out ourselves, and get rid of it as soon as any reaches us personally. In the meantime, don’t get too bothered by its presence. That just gets you thinking about it more, which is what the spammer wanted in the first place.