Posts tagged ‘spam’


Could the fight against phishing be shifted?

08.04.2017

I wasn’t able to find anything about this online, and I wonder if anyone was already doing it. If not, maybe someone should.
   Could the big players, e.g. Amazon and Apple, not provide the public with a fake email address and password (or a series of them) that we can feed in to phishing sites? When the crooks then use the same to enter Amazon, they could be reported with their IP address and caught. Is anyone doing this?
   In other words: make fake accounts to fight fake emails.
   It seems regular people like us can spot phishing long before the big sites and web hosts do, and this could act as a deterrent against this sort of criminal activity. Like a lot of things, we’d democratize scam-busting, instead of reporting them to the authorities.
   Of course we can still report the phishing site to APWG, Spamcop et al, but it’ll take hosts some time before they shut down the site, by which time the crooks will have made off with a lot of usernames and passwords.
   I imagine some of these people will have built in safeguards, e.g. they keep a record of the emails they send phishing messages out to, and if the one you provide doesn’t marry up, they’d know. But then, do all of us use the same email on these sites? If their aim is to cast their nets widely, then they would want those extra email addresses. I don’t necessarily use the same email address on all websites. Greed might trump the fear of getting caught, since the average scam nets the criminal US$4,500.
   I know they’d also get suspicious if a whole bunch of us entered the same address and password, so these might need to be automatically generated regularly to bait the scammers. The oldest ones would be deleted.
   Comments are welcome. It seems such a simple idea that it must already be out there after so many years, but maybe the pitfalls of generating so many would present difficulties, or maybe such an idea has already been tried and discarded.

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Posted in internet, technology | No Comments »


Facebook’s still deleting drag accounts and keeping bots

21.06.2015

Some interesting bugs out there on Facebook that my friends are telling me about. One has been removed from all her groups, including one that I run (we never touched her account), another cannot comment any more (an increasingly common bug now), while Felicity Frockaccino, well known on the drag scene locally and in Sydney, saw her account deleted. Unlike LaQuisha St Redfern’s earlier this year, Felicity’s has been out for weeks, and it’s affected her livelihood since her bookings were in there. Facebook has done nothing so far, yet I’ve since uncovered another bot net which they have decided to leave (have a look at this hacked account and the bots that have been added; a lot of dormant accounts in Japan and Korea have suffered this fate, and Facebook has deleted most), despite its members being very obviously fake. Delete the humans, keep the bots.
   Felicity didn’t ask but I decided to write to these people again, to see if it would help. There was a missing word, unfortunately, but it doesn’t change the sentiment:

Guys, last year you apologized to drag kings and queens for deleting their accounts. But this year, you have been deleting their accounts. This is the second one that I know of, and I don’t know that many drag queens, which suggests to me that you [still] have it in for the drag community.

https://www.facebook.com/DoubleFFs/

Felicity Frockaccino is an international drag performer, and you’ve affected her livelihood as her bookings were all in that account. This is the second time you deleted her, despite your public apology and a private one that you sent her directly. What is going on, Facebook? You retain bots and bot nets that I report, but you go around deleting genuine human users who rely on you to make their living. Unlike LaQuisha Redfern’s account, which you restored within days, this has been weeks now.

   That’s right, she even received a personal apology after her account was deleted the first time. I had hoped that Facebook would have seen sense, since Felicity has plenty of fans. The first-world lesson is the same here as it is for Blogger: do not ever rely on Facebook for anything, and know that at any moment (either due to the intentional deletion on their end or the increasing number of database-write issues), your account can vanish.

Meanwhile, my 2012 academic piece, now titled ‘The impact of digital and social media on branding’, is in vol. 3, no. 1, the latest issue of the Journal of Digital and Social Media Marketing. This is available via Ingenta Connect (subscription only). JDSMM is relatively new, but all works are double-blind, peer-reviewed, and it’s from the same publisher as The Journal of Brand Management, to which I have contributed before. It was more cutting-edge in 2012 when I wrote it, and in 2013 when it was accepted for publication and JDSMM promoted its inclusion in vol. 1, no. 1, but I believe it continues to have a lot of merit for practitioners today. An unfortunate, unintentional administrative error saw to its omission, but when they were alerted to it, the publisher and editors went above and beyond to remedy things while I was in the UK and it’s out now.

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Posted in branding, business, internet, marketing, technology, UK, USA | 1 Comment »


Why Facebook’s errors might be increasing

30.05.2015

Now that I’ve figured out that Facebook only works on alternate days (or at least evenings, since it gave up the ghost again for the early afternoon), I’m back into my usual swing of things. It’s not so much that I spend that much time on social networks, but getting to the bottom of things interests me.
   The other angle is that having spent my teens watching this technology develop (I saw the original War Games at the cinema), and knowing how much these companies are worth, I have an expectation about where the level of service should be. Frequently, it’s not, and it’s worth calling them out, showing people that the emperor has no clothes, and reminding all of us that size is nothing to be scared of. (It’s like my usual quip about banks: how come a cheque took 24 hours to clear in 1976 and five to seven days in 2015? Are computers seven times slower today?)
   The feedback has been interesting. I’ve run into a lot of people with the same problems, which at least gives me some clue about the reasons. The problems tended to be focused on Europe and the US east coast, suggesting that there was at least one server with writing difficulties. Given my experience on Vox, mentioned in my last post, this doesn’t surprise me. Hard drives develop faults, and at least Facebook has more back-up systems than Vox did, which probably restored the account (one hopes).
   One friend asked whether I was being targeted. I suppose I encounter these issues frequently, which is why I theorized yesterday that adding to an account that has 6 Gbyte of data might be problematic. I don’t know if the others had Facebook accounts with a lot of data. But it’s another theory that remains with me. (My joke was that it was proving difficult to shift 6 Gbyte of data to and from the NSA.)
   Another friend sent me his screen shot this morning, showing that he could not post a comment to my wall, confirming what I believed: that there was something wrong with my account and saving data to it. But it had nothing to do with me.
   Interestingly, I did run into one netizen who completely disbelieved the situation, saying she had never encountered anyone with such problems before. I could only conclude that we moved in different circles, although the errors I confronted were no different to the ones that hit Facebook users worldwide for in October 2013 (including major TV networks and companies), or for around 35–40 minutes in June 2014. Luckily she and her entire circle were spared (or was this down to an incredibly short memory?), but the people I knew weren’t so lucky, getting caught out in both outages. Those were fixed more quickly because millions were caught out; Facebook is less likely to get round to faults that hundreds or thousands experience as quickly.
   The fact is Facebook’s amount of errors is increasing annually, and these outages are becoming more commonplace. You can argue that having a website that mucks up every once in a while is tolerable, but, looking back at the bugs I filed at Get Satisfaction, I can’t agree. Facebook’s silly bug of failing on the 1st of the month seems minor compared to a site on which you could no longer post, like or comment—its three cornerstone activities.
   It’s why I report spambots and spammers, because it’s the responsible thing to do (would you, in the real world, ignore a physical hazard?) as Facebook has some compromised accounts that are months, if not years, old, that need to be seen to, because they take resources away from the rest of us.
   I also post about these mainly to give other netizens some solace that they aren’t alone. The one thing people wonder when they confront these errors is, ‘If I’m alone, will this ever get fixed?’ In Vox’s case, the answer was a firm no: I left the site at the end of 2009 when they couldn’t fix things; a year later, the place would close down completely. This is not a fate that Facebook can ignore, although it is far better resourced than Six Apart was when it came to that site, and the scenario will not play out like that or on such a brief time-scale.
   And, of course, Facebook is worse than Google when it comes to keeping people informed or having some kind of support (even though Google’s support is completely dismissive the moment a matter falls outside the norm—but surely that was the reason one visited their forums to begin with). Bringing a bit of extra pressure may have helped get LaQuisha Redfern’s account reinstated, as well as that of another friend last week when I fired off a complaint to Facebook directly over its ridiculous passport policy.
   In 2011, Bob Cringely believed that Facebook would peak in 2014, and I have to say that has come to pass. The novelty wore off some time ago (Timeline helped give Facebook more life), our lives are getting busier, organic reach is in the toilet, and the frequency of bugs will drive people away. Thank goodness for its shareholders that it diversified.

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Posted in internet, technology, USA | No Comments »


Five or ten years, your Kiwi passport is not a valid government-issued ID, says Facebook

26.05.2015

Sometimes you wonder if the big players on Silicon Valley exist in a parallel universe.
   Google, of course, is a firm that makes little sense to me: one that usually says one thing and does another, in almost every encounter I have had with it. And you know they can’t be that smart if, for many, many versions of Google Earth, they had no idea what was at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC.
   Facebook, naturally, observes these same traditions. Last year, I lost access to the website for 69 hours, when it decided posting, liking and commenting were no longer necessary features, and withdrew them. No one really seemed to mind when they couldn’t write on my wall: other than a few exceptions, folks just shrugged it off. We are, it seems, extremely accepting of having a buggy website where nothing works.
   Fast forward one year, and posting, liking and commenting are things that occasionally work on Facebook when it feels like it; most of today, they didn’t. But that’s nothing compared to a friend who has had her entire profile deleted.
   The story shows once again what geniuses must work at these firms.
   First, she found some photos of hers on another profile, so she complained through the usual channels. Instead of deleting the pirates’ photos, Facebook deleted her account instead.
   When she appealed, Facebook asked for proof of identity. She provided her New Zealand passport.
   But, according to Facebook, New Zealand passports are not a valid form of government-issued ID. Her other forms of identity were invalid, too.
   I’m interested to know how the brains’ trust of Facebook works. If a passport is not a valid government-issued form of identity, then what is? Is there something Facebook knows about that far exceeds the power of a passport? Am I to believe my American friends have held out on me all these years about this mystery form of super-identity?
   Or, of course, Facebook believes, and we have had proof of this, that no one lives outside the Pacific coast of the United States. This explains its ongoing bugs at the 1st of each month where the site’s functionality is severely reduced because it isn’t the 1st of the month in California. So if your passport doesn’t “look American”, it can’t possibly be valid.
   Here is a woman with over 50,000 fans in her business and who has been planning her wedding via the site, who has now been shut out.
   It does seem that Facebook is doing this willy-nilly. We also know its apology for shutting drag queens’ accounts last year to be insincere, when LaQuisha Redfern found herself locked out with no means of appeal.
   And yet, proven spammers (people who have spammed, and their spams reported to Facebook) are allowed to maintain their accounts. Spambots—and I found a bot net of over 90 recently (down from 277 a day, so Facebook is getting better)—are OK, too, because Facebook staff cannot tell the difference between a legitimate human being and a bot. While it deleted most of the 90 I identified, it strangely left a handful up, even though a pattern had been established. A few were old accounts that were hacked with their identities changed, but apparently that’s enough to fool Facebook into thinking they are legitimate human beings. A bot net I uncovered last year took multiple, repeated complaints before Facebook realized that they were actually bots that wrote random things on each other’s walls; never mind that what was written was incomprehensible. Literacy, it seems, is not a requirement at Facebook.
   If Facebook is deleting real humans, or, in my case, limiting its functionalities to us (although I would have thought posting, liking and commenting were pretty fundamental to the site), and maintaining bots (because, as we know, Facebook uses bots to make money), then it’s only a matter of time when it’s just a massive bot net communicating with each other, there to con companies into paying for more bots to follow them.
   Facebook it has done a lot of things right when it came to IP protection and enforcement when I have approached them. Generally, I don’t find them as offensive as Google. But just how it could have got this case so wrong is beyond me.

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Posted in business, internet, New Zealand, USA | 1 Comment »


Even on Instagram, they prefer bots to legitimate users

05.05.2015

Instagram bans are like Facebook blackouts or Google blacklists: no matter what the company says your time-out is, it’s considerably longer.
   Day 1 was Sunday, when I noticed that the likes I made via Ink 361 didn’t stick. I went back to Iconosquare (Statigram) and this message flashed up:

   The wisdom online is that this is a 24-hour ban and I should be back to normal. It’s Tuesday, and I’m still barred from liking unless I go to Instagram itself.
   I’ve been reading that the like limit is around 120 photos and videos per hour, and I haven’t come close to that. I don’t even see 120 photos per hour through following 500-odd people. Other posts at the above-linked page suggest you need 50 seconds between each like. Rot.
   Instagram really needs to come clean about this, as none of this computes. Some thoughts I’ve had over the last few days follow.
   1. Instagram recommends accounts you might like. If you follow them, inevitably you will like the things on them. Of course I’ll like more media as a result. Yet if you do this, you’ll get banned. Where is the logic behind this?
   2. Instagram penalizes you for being quick with apps or being quick on your cellphone. Makes no sense: the fact I’m skilful doesn’t mean I’m a bot. I’ve also behaved in exactly the same way since November 2012, but I may follow more accounts that pique my interest because of (1).
   3. If you don’t want us liking stuff, then recommend to us some accounts we might hate.

   4. I’m not sure how to change the way I like things. I either like things or I don’t. Be more specific.
   5. I don’t use a bot. You guys do. You host thousands of them, and they spam us all the time. The ones I see and report have media going back three weeks to six months, so clearly you ignore the reports netizens make.
   6. Further to (5), Instagram can’t tell the difference between legitimate users and bots.
   7. I report a lot of bots, including bot-likers. Maybe you guys are sick of those who report bots, because those bots are keeping your share price where it is, as I suspect you claim them as legitimate users.
   8. Just admit that you guys don’t like these external websites using your API and we’ll be fine. Admit it. You’ve already forced the sites that use ‘Insta’ and ‘gram’ in their names to change, yet you don’t have a monopoly on either prefix or suffix. Just another typical US site with too many lawyers.
   I have sent feedback to Instagram but I doubt I’ll hear back. Of course, if I don’t, I shan’t know which of the above is at play here.
   As with most websites, I’m just an average user. Yet it shows that following the rules is bound to get you on the bad side of these guys. I hardly think that’s the message their friends in Wall Street want to hear, that Facebook and Instagram are overrun with bots while legitimate users get blocked.

PS.: I found this page dealing with Instagram limits. I know for a fact I was nowhere near these.—JY
   P.PS.: The ban was lifted on Saturday, May 9, i.e. six days later.—JY

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Posted in business, internet, USA | No Comments »


Found a Facebook bot? Facebook wants you to leave it as reporting option vanishes

06.03.2015

PS.: As of 11.28 a.m. GMT, eight hours after the post below, Facebook has put its normal reporting options back.—JY

Facebook appears to be giving up on the bot fight. As of today, you can no longer mark an account as a fake one: the closest option is to say that it is using a false name (an entirely different reason, in my opinion).
   Facebook also now doesn’t want to hear from you if that is the case. You are expected to advise the bot (!) of your concern, or block it (which isn’t very helpful if you are running groups).


   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 smart enough to figure out which are bots.
   That’s actually not true: Facebook isn’t smart enough. Of the accounts I reported in the last month, Facebook allowed a handful to remain. When I urged them to look again, they then told me they had reconsidered and accepted that I was right. The accounts were then deleted.
   Basically, without human intervention, Facebook actually has no way—unless, I imagine, it spots a bot net using the same IP address—of knowing where to start.
   When you add this to the fact that Facebook uses click farms, it’s not a very rosy picture for anyone who needs to use the platform for marketing. You’re going to get fake likes and spam because of these bots and bot nets.
   Yet Facebook gets a lot of things right. They remain responsive on legal issues, in particular. I’d like to see them get this part right.
   Last year, the bot activity peaked in the last quarter of 2014, when I encountered my personal record of 277 per day. It’s been a several a day for most of 2015 but they are on the rise again.
   By reporting, hopefully the Facebook boffins can see the patterns of new bots (they do change their MOs from time to time) and guard against them for other users.
   We could, of course, allow the bots to spam and impersonate people (the latter is also on the rise, just in the last week, when two of my friends became victims) and Facebook can deal to them ex post facto, which I accept is one way with not too many down sides.
   Nevertheless, I think it’s irresponsible to ignore the bots, given that they affect all businesses. I also reckon we’re doing Facebook a favour by keeping its platform as clean as possible. If I were being selfish about it, I see real potential of them harming my own businesses with fake likes, undermining engagement. It’s part of modern life: if you work on Facebook, or any part of your business relies on Facebook, you should be concerned.
   In 2009, I saw Vox go down, at a time when bots overran the system. I can’t make a causal link because I don’t have enough inside knowledge, but I do know that in my last year on that platform, I could not post (or, rather, I had to wait days for a compose window rather than milliseconds). Others were encountering some interesting bugs, too: one user had to switch browsers just to use it.
   The symptoms are there: bots, fatigue over the platform, and now, a company that really can’t be arsed to hear from you when things are going south.
   One computer expert has told me that the Facebook set-up is far more robust than Vox ever was, and I accept that, but at the same time I don’t believe the regular outages over the last 12 months are a coincidence.
   Email is still surviving despite the fact that majority of messages are spam, so the “ignore them” camp has a point.
   But you know me: if people ignored all the bad stuff going on, we wouldn’t have known Google was lying to people over Ads Preferences Manager and snooping on Iphones. And, on a wider scale on the internet, no one would have heard of Edward Snowden or Glenn Greenwald, or, locally, Nicky Hager, the man who a Labour politician called a conspiracy theorist, before a later National politician called a conspiracy theorist. I’d rather keep the pressure up, even if the matter is minor.
   On that note, it’s time to work on a response to a proposed WCC traffic resolution. It might affect 14 households, but it’s still worth doing.

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Posted in business, internet, USA | 1 Comment »


How many Facebook bots do you see in an evening? I count over 250

09.10.2014

Last month, I Tweeted Facebook, asking them to raise the reporting limit for bots. Right now, you can report 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 of increase in bot accounts was exponential, and that raising the limit to 200 immediately might be useful.
   Tonight, the 200 barrier has been broken. In other words, in one evening, not counting click farms (which are also hitting our groups like crazy, with a growing number from Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and Tunisia daily), I came across 277 bot accounts on Facebook. All because I have a few groups and I was checking to see who was joining.
   And here I was, thinking that over the last few weeks, when I was seeing a maximum of six daily, that Facebook had this problem under control.
   Obviously, the bot nets found a way through whatever defences Facebook had.
   I won’t republish the list of 277 here. There might be slightly fewer as there could be doubling-up in my list—you can lose your place at night copying and pasting. If you do want to have a peek at what bot accounts look like, the second part of the list at my Tumblr blog will give you an idea. And if you’d like to report them, you’re most welcome to—though since it’s neither your job nor mine, I wonder why we should bother. Facebook loves to brag about its numbers of how many people it has using the site. If in order to fool advertisers it shows a quarter-on-quarter increase by counting the bots, then maybe we should let it be, and eventually let the site fall over (and let’s face it, the frequency of that happening has increased, too).
   All of which point to a website that is becoming less and less useful as a marketing tool—no wonder the likes of Ello saw an increase in usage in the last few weeks.

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Posted in business, internet, marketing, USA | 4 Comments »


Facebook blocks you from reporting bots, fails to provide rationale

07.09.2014

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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Posted in internet, USA | 4 Comments »


Facebook loves spammers

25.08.2014

Can Facebook please explain why these obvious bot accounts, all of which have been reported, are allowed to remain on their website? (I have asked Facebook this directly already on Twitter and Facebook.)
   Some were reported in 2013.

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007203668633&fref=pb_other
https://www.facebook.com/sluchevskiya?fref=pb_other
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003332425523&fref=nf_fr
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001139762163
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007774961452&fref=tl_fr_box
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003723657320
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007526100670&fref=tl_fr_box
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007575222133&fref=tl_fr_box
https://www.facebook.com/kyoko.fukada.902266?fref=tl_fr_box
https://www.facebook.com/cindy.weaver.7311?fref=tl_fr_box
https://www.facebook.com/patricia.lima.393950/
https://www.facebook.com/thomas.lawler.756?fref=tl_fr_box
https://www.facebook.com/kolthoff.danuta?fref=tl_fr_box
https://www.facebook.com/kaj.werner.50?fref=tl_fr_box
https://www.facebook.com/qkquddy?fref=tl_fr_box
https://www.facebook.com/iwssr?fref=tl_fr_box
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007249031036&fref=tl_fr_box
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007435327784&fref=tl_fr_box
https://www.facebook.com/LambRAWRghini?fref=tl_fr_box
https://www.facebook.com/youngyoung.park.716?fref=tl_fr_box
https://www.facebook.com/sungmin.woo.75?fref=tl_fr_box
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007448436332&fref=tl_fr_box
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007859550070&fref=tl_fr_box
https://www.facebook.com/donavan.carroll.98?fref=tl_fr_box
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006816901060&fref=tl_fr_box
https://www.facebook.com/cho.youngjae.94?fref=pb&hc_location=friends_tab
https://www.facebook.com/barbara.stephens.311493?fref=tl_fr_box
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006816901060&fref=tl_fr_box
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006370157803&fref=tl_fr_box
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002244310810&fref=tl_fr_box
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=597132803&fref=tl_fr_box

   Possible explanations:

  • they work for Facebook, and are part of the click farms exposed by Veritasium;
  • Facebook is totally fooled by the bots’ ability to make friends with other bots, which comment and like with random words, or words that do not match the images posted;
  • Facebook doesn’t care that its servers are overrun with bots because they can claim trumped-up user numbers;
  • Facebook is confident that, unlike Six Apart’s old Vox site, the bots won’t contribute to their website dying—even though it has crashed twice in the last few months.
  •    To Facebook’s credit, many which I have reported are gone, but I’m at a loss on why these remain. If I can tell they are bots, then how come Facebook’s experts cannot? And why does Facebook prevent us from reporting too many, when they are being created at such a rapid rate?

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    Posted in internet, USA | No Comments »


    Could Facebook follow Vox into the void?

    04.07.2014

    Originally posted to the Vox Neighbourhood on Facebook, without links

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    Key to the 2009 calendar. Yellow: days when Vox worked normally. Pink: days when the compose screen took minutes or hours to load. Red: days when Vox would not allow me to compose at all. I gave up on December 13, 2009, and consolidated all my long-form blogging here.

    A few weeks ago, what happened to me on Vox in 2009 happened here on Facebook. The difference was it was eventually remedied after 69 hours (Vox could not fix this over 6·9 weeks).
       I could no longer post, comment or like anything. Back at the end of 2009, my profile on Vox became so corrupted (through no fault of my own) that it would take up to two days before the compose window would come up (I would press ‘Compose’ regularly to see if the window would show and it would take two days of pressing before it would come up). Six Apart kept blaming this on me, my ISP, living in New Zealand, traceroutes, cookies, and the rest, until, at the end, I said: here are my username and password. If you can log in and get the window from your HQ, I’ll shut up.
       And they couldn’t. But there was never a solution. I had to leave because I could not compose a post any more.
       A year later, Vox was dead.
       I’m used to having corrupted profiles, whether it’s with Google, my telephone company, or with Facebook. No big company seems to be able to keep my data, and that’s probably a good thing. But what was bothersome is that spammers could still sign up for new accounts. You’ll remember that the biggest keywords on Vox for 2009–10 were Indian escort agencies, and those guys spammed the place like crazy. I was spending more and more time reporting spam accounts to Vox.
       When I was Facebook-less last month, I noticed the same. As with Vox, I could read other accounts. I could see group activity. And, for the past year, I would see bot accounts regularly, some allowed to be on Facebook for well over half a year. As on Vox, I would report them regularly. I’d find a minimum of two a day, and I’ve reported up to seventeen a day, trying to join my groups. I’ve just reported 11.
       People keep forecasting when Facebook would die, citing all kinds of reasons, such as new social networks, people getting bored of it, etc. But I wonder if the spammers will kill it eventually, to the point where there are hundreds of millions of spam accounts, hogging resources meant for legitimate users.

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    Posted in internet, technology, USA | 2 Comments »