The Carnage From Digital Predators Is Foul Indeed

George Parker is done with Facebook and Twitter, two places where digital scam artists got the best of him.

…in the last few days, I have had dozens of emails from very pissed off people asking why I am bombarding them with shitty emails flogging everything from insurance to condoms. Obviously someone has hacked my account. Just as someone phished my Facebook account FIVE times a few weeks ago. That’s whey I am no longer on Facebook.

Edward O’Meara sounded off in Parker’s comments and linked to this devestating, but deliciously insightful guest post on TechCrunch from Dennis Yu, a former spammer.
Yu’s article is well worth your time. He discusses the “perfect storm” that arrived when spammers began to dynamically insert user data into ads on Facebook, disguising the ads to seem like part of an application, or game. He also tells how college kids with programming skills can make $10,000/day tricking people into giving up their email address, phone numbers, even credit card numbers via these sleight of mouse deceptions.

These ads looked like they were from Facebook – the blue button, white background, same font. And, of course, they had your profile picture, your name – plus that of your friends, in the ad. If you’re a 15 year old girl, would you know what’s being served by Facebook, the game developer, or the ad network? These same offers have been running for years on MySpace, using tactics such as fake Windows system messages and pop-ups.

Yu argues that big brands will eventually push the spammers from Facebook, but I don’t know. Spam still comes to my email inbox every day. Granted a great majority of it is auto-processed into pixelated sawdust thanks to Gmail’s search and destroy methods, but someone somewhere is clicking and making these spammers day.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.