Jack Yan
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The Persuader

My personal blog, started in 2006.



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07.09.2014

Facebook blocks you from reporting bots, fails to provide rationale

It appears Facebook doesn’t want bot reports after you hit a limit. In fact, I’ve been banned for a day for reporting them.
   This makes no sense. Facebook gives you a warning to slow down when you hit the 40s. But you can’t get any slower. The fact is Facebook has made the reporting process very slow by introducing more dialogue boxes. If you keep going, however, Facebook gives you a one-day ban, with a warning box that has a link for more information (that does not give you any information on the upper limit or the rationale for the ban), although you can fill in a box and tell them they made a mistake.
   But why should I be defending actions that are selfless and for the good of the community? And surely, since the overwhelming majority of the accounts reported were then deleted—I’d even say all of them, but I didn’t go back to check the last few in each block—then wouldn’t Facebook have a mechanism to say, ‘Right, this guy is on the level’?
   It’s perfectly normal to see more than 40 bots a day on Facebook if you run groups, because a lot of them are joining them to make themselves look legitimate. They’re also liking pages—some even in cahoots with Facebook. (Just today I talked to a New Zealand business owner who bought Facebook likes, restricted them to New Zealand, and yet she somehow attracted accounts from Egypt and Morocco.)
   The more bots there are, the fewer resources Facebook’s servers can devote to legitimate users. Eventually, the bots will overrun the system and could even be the origins of denial-of-service attacks.
   The below are tonight’s bots, not counting this morning’s:

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004972665291
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007942905362
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007706745366
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007326225411
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004273695465
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005123145337
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004155315516
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007194525440
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005286765378
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004642995496
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007651845445
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005938275512
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007823175380
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007728165452
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008071125392
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008045505381
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007953840726
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005147565355
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006667935344
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008401201715

Three hours later:

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007529137326
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007384752178
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004818162276
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005288290019
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004805647271
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005288174810
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004806457148
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004767757207
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006871812132
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007187167379
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006447457255
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004817382081
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008276257202
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007104822399
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005287994706
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007986851807
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005288289860
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004821222189
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005287904919
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006377742208
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004821187302

   Then I went to re-report some from 15 days ago, which Facebook finally accepted. However, while I was reporting this series, hitting the ones below, Facebook blocked me.

https://www.facebook.com/ze.hao.14
https://www.facebook.com/eleanor.young.9465
https://www.facebook.com/LambRAWRghini
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002244310810
https://www.facebook.com/emerson.stewart.144

Which is a shame, because a few moments later I came across another 21 trying to join groups.

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006101687832
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007271985326
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004489155309
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004238537896
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006265307871
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006631577828
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005194785403
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007808027790
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005155425293
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007468875290
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005335605327
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006749445281
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007497885296
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005236907983
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005077697830
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006587925294
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008083785274
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007184267799
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007760027803
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007751805319
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004263977904

   That’s 67 bots in a day. My previous record (last week) was 53 in a day. It wasn’t that long ago when it was one a day. The growth of bot activity on Facebook could be exponential.
   Either Facebook lifts the blocks, or it improves its bot-detection measures. Evidently, Facebook is failing to stop the bots, which, to me, spells the end of the website.

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Filed under: internet, USA—Jack Yan @ 12.44

4 Responses to ‘Facebook blocks you from reporting bots, fails to provide rationale’

  1. jaklumen says:

    I suspect, Jack, that this may boil down to a conflict of interest between its advertisers, which you know are Facebook’s primary customers, and its users.

    I know that’s a pat suggestion and there’s likely more to it than that, but, I still think it’s about following the money, as you’ve said yourself, and that maybe they have some advertisers with practices that the Zuckerbergs just don’t feel like being transparent about, for whatever reason.

    I can definitely understand the parallels with Vox, but, well, I e-mailed Daisy at great length about this; she told me that Vox essentially drew the short end of the stick when the Say Media merger came along. How she phrased it was that they kept TypePad, but Vox was progressively not needed. I doubt this would be similar to anything with Facebook unless the Zuckerbergs have another project under the hood they aren’t telling us about. Or, they do. It could be like Jagex and their flagship MMO, Runescape– maybe Facebook is still planning something big that will eliminate the bots.

    Just ideas, Jack… I freely admit I have no idea as I refuse to use Facebook anymore, mostly because of not wanting to deal with pettiness of certain extended family, as well as some… acquaintances.

  2. Jack Yan says:

    You’re right, J., that there is a massive Facebook con going on—and yet they are still making money despite consumer awareness of this. It may be dishonest, and in fact it can be shown to be illegal, but until someone takes them on, Facebook is going to keep selling its highly dubious “likes” and promotions.
       I’m reading between the lines here: Vox was effectively starved of investment, and I just wonder if Facebook is now in the same boat. Why invest? It’s sitting pretty, each innovation is greeted with complaints (e.g. Timeline), and the business model seems decidedly short-term.
       I hope they can eliminate the bots but the bot programmers are getting cleverer. The ones that they took 15 days to delete were quite smart: they posted random content and they liked and shared with each other.
       There isn’t much point to Facebook if you aren’t on it already, unless you have something to promote, and even when you do, it’s a case of caveat venditor.

  3. […] around 40 bot accounts before a warning box comes up asking you to slow down. If you do another 10, you are barred from reporting any more for 24 hours—even though you are trying to help Facebook clean up its act.    I said that the rate […]

  4. […]  And I thought the 40-per-day limit was bad.    On Twitter, it was pointed out to me that I shouldn’t care, because Facebook is […]

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