everyone else is doing it, and may I interest you in some replica watches?

Anyone know who Liz Allen is? I don’t. She, or the nefarious spammer robot hackery person behind her programming wants me to be her friend on Facebook, I guess.* But I think Facebook really wants me to be her friend — and others’ — on Facebook.

facebook_peer_pressureThere are a few names on the peer pressure org chart shown here I know well, a few I recognize but have only had limited contact with via email, and a few that are complete mysteries to me. I guess it’s not a problem that these people all have my email address. I mean, I gave it to them (at least the ones I recognize). I don’t even really have a problem with people letting services like Facebook and flickr and dopplr and many others mine their contacts from other services. Indeed, I have done that on occasion as well (like when I finally caved and joined LinkedIn a few months ago — still scratching my head on that one).

But what’s the result of that? Through replication, eventually my email address and relationship to users allowing this sort of contact mining is known to organizations with which I (at least initially) wanted nothing to do, all over the big cloud of replicated contact lists. And if these services become vulnerable to manipulation, as apparently was the case here, is that a problem? I keep looking for the harm here, because something seems extra creepy about a spammy email message with pictures of people I know in it, but I can’t find anything more harmful than yet another kind of spam to watch for in my email.

Besides, were I to cave in and become a Facebook user, what is the risk of becoming Liz Allen’s friend? Or what does the hackery person get out of me becoming Liz Allen’s friend, anyway? Is there a hope that I will become her friend and then lend “her” money for her uncle, the deposed West African nobleman? Visit “her” website and get tricked into divulging my bank details or downloading a trojan horse? I guess if just a handful of the thousands of Liz Allen’s potential new friends fall prey to that sort of thing, it’s a big payoff to “her.”

*Liz, if you are a real person, drop me more than a line via my email address, which you obviously already know, and remind me why I should recognize your name and/or picture. I assume, however, from your terse “personal message” as part of the Facebook invitation you sent me, that this plea will fall on deactivated audio sensors.


7 thoughts on “everyone else is doing it, and may I interest you in some replica watches?”

  1. tqe | Adam

    Liz Allen seems fake — I’ve never quite understood what Facebook is for. I seem to have the key essential feature of it without facebook: email allows me to stay in contact with my friends.

    What am I missing?

  2. G

    I got one of these too (different name). I guess the hackers just figured out how to do this. I don’t know why- perhaps to send targeted e-mails or adverts? Perhaps to have hapless folk add applications (through sending “flowers”or whatever) that turn out to be trojans (you give permission for these apps to enter your account if you accept “gifts”). I just said no.
    Wonder if we share a friend who has been infected or if it came out of some other list?

  3. Sarah

    If this is a new spamming fad, I’m kind of surprised I haven’t received one yet. I think among my local friends, I’m the lone failbook holdout. Not that I’m complaining…

    1. Tammy

      I was finding FB somewhat useful for organizing some things with friends (who aren’t very good about emailing), but as of late, my inbox just keeps getting flooded with messages from threads on FB. I have just started deleting them and asking the relevant friend for the details later by email or phone – kind of defeats the purpose no?

      Again, it reminds me a lot of being in a room full of people randomly yelling.

  4. CN Heidelberg

    If it’s a hacker, I think G is right that they do it so that if you add them, they can promote dangerous apps, collect your information (can also be done via apps), or otherwise advertise for something.

    In the case of advertising, I’ve heard of jobs now in, for example, venue promotion, which actually require the person to have a facebook account to use for promotional purposes.

    It could also be a friend of a friend who has used the friend finder (it hooks into your email account). Then facebook has the name of all that person’s contacts ever – and not just contacts they saved in an address book, but anyone that person ever emailed. Then facebook may suggest you as a friend to them since you have a mutual friend. Some people really do try to friend whoever facebook suggests; I guess big friend lists make some people feel good about themselves.

    Re: email provides the same thing – some people are shit at communication and I’ve been really surprised at how many people DO want to be in contact but just suck at initiating/emailing. Facebook makes it so much easier that you can keep contacts like these people. I guess you could argue that if they can’t be bothered to email with you then maybe you shouldn’t be friends. In this age where we’re all bombarded with e-crap at all times, it’s hard to say who is to blame when people don’t make the best use of it.

    That said I sometimes regret having an account. Although I made my public profile non-Google-searchable – and it does not directly come up on Google – other data-collecting websites have somehow accessed it anyway and put it up themselves. I’ve started using a fake name now (Facebook ostensibly requires you to use your real name) to try to escape this but I think it might be too late since the account has already been associated with my real name.

  5. Hezamarie

    Social networking has it’s pluses, ie connecting to friends w/o blogs. It’s actually freed up my inbox. I no longer need to download MBs of baby pictures. There are enough options under profile settings to limit your full info to just friends and to get e-mail notifications for just important stuff, it’s about as intrusive as say having a public blog.

  6. Jul

    Am I the only one who felt compelled to google Liz Allen? Turns out she is several mildly interesting people.

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