How Marketers Can Steal Your Public Facebook Data

A recent blog post by Wired Epicenter suggests that the Facebook contact import tool can be easily leveraged and manipulated by rogue marketers looking to expand data within their email list.

According to Facebook’s Andrew Noyes, “We’ve developed several systems to detect and block malicious use of the Friend Finder. For example, we don’t allow users to upload contact lists past a certain size. We also block users who upload contacts at an anomalous rate.”

Despite that statement, here is exactly how email marketers could potentially abuse the system:

  • Visit the friend finder page utilizing a fake Facebook account
  • By clicking on “Upload a contact file” (pictured below), an email marketer can import a marketing list and then view information about any of the users who are on Facebook

It is important to note that the information available for these rogue marketers to collect is information made public by the user. As Wired states:

 “Users should know that the information exposed in this little hack is not unlike that which is turned over to third-party applications whenever you or one of your friends installs an application, including such things as quizzes to decide what kind of pet you are.”

Make sure to consider twice the data and information you decide to “make public” and consider your privacy settings accordingly!

Facebook Cuts off Web 2.0 Suicide Machine Access

Have you heard about the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine. The website lets you “sign out forever” from Facebook or, rather, “kill” your account- at least until a few days ago. Once they got wind of the startup website, Facebook quickly blocked the Suicide Machine servers from accessing their website.


According to a Facebook representative:

 “Facebook provides the ability for people who no longer want to use the site to either deactivate their account or delete it completely. Web 2.0 Suicide Machine collects log-in credentials and scrapes Facebook pages, which are violations of our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. We’ve blocked the site’s access to Facebook, as is our policy for sites that violate our SRR. We’re currently investigating and considering whether to take further action.”

Not familiar with how the Suicide Machine works? The website, rather than  just deleting your Facebook account, will  instead walk through your account, friend by friend and delete your connections one at a time via a script.

Prior to deleting your contacts, however, your profile picture will be changed to a pink noose (pictured on the left). Your password will also be changed preventing any future attempts at a profile “resurrection”

So, why the creation of the Suicide Machine? From the FAQ:

“Facebook and Co. are going to hold all your informations and pictures on their servers forever! We still hope that by removing your contact details and friend connections one-by-one, your data is being cached out from their backup servers. This can happen after days, weeks, months, or even years. So merely deactivating the account is just not enough!”

For the time being, if you still have the desire to remove yourself from Facebook, you’ll have to stick with the delete-account tools on Facebook iself.

Study: Nielsen – Website Users Growing More Social

Nielsen’s recently released study paints U.S. broadband users as “going social, and checking out Web videos.”

Consider this, 56% of active U.S. Web users spend on average 6 hours on Facebook per month. Even more interesting, Facebook is the third-most-visited site by users 65 years and older. All in all, the total time Americans spent on social networking sites in 2009 increased a staggering 277%!

Here are a couple additional thoughts from Nielsen’s study. The average U.S. worker spends five hours per month browsing social networks from the office. Nielsen also found that 32% of all mobile Web users visited a social network in 2009 – I definitely count myself in that percentage!

How about you? What percentile do you fall into?

Online Video Booms – Myspace Video Plummets

Video consumption online has exploded in the U.S. and has only been further increased with the emergence of Hulu and others. Ironically, for entertainment-heavy and Facebook competitor, MySpace, unique views and videos served have declined sharply.

Consider these stats depicting the monumental growth in video consumption in the U.S. in November 2009. According to Comscore, 170.6 million U.S. residents watched almost 31 billion videos, an average of 182 videos per person. That’s a big increase from 146 million unique viewers and 12.7 billion videos, an average of  87 videos per viewer, in November 2008.

MySpace, admittingly, is more noted for their strong focus on recording artists and entertainment in general, pointed out that, despite declines in unique viewers and videos watched, on a per user basis, its online video engagement is up.

In an e-mailed statement, Myspace  said:

“Our user engagement numbers for video were higher than ever — highly engaged users are staying on MySpace and watching more videos.”

That said, there is no denying the fact that the overall trend in the U.S. is an increase in both unique viewers and in videos watched, not a decrease.

What are your thoughts? Is this yet another sign of the ‘end’ as we know it for Myspace? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Facebook Movie Highly Anticipated

The Social Network Movie

With a release date already scheduled, The Social Network is quickly gaining some high profile buzz. With an acclaimed writer (Aaron Sorkin) and director David Fincher on board has landed the script for the Social Network at the top of 2009’s The Black List – a compilation of the most-liked unproduced scripts of the year and chose by Hollywood insiders.

Entertainment Weekly describes the film:

The Social Network

By Aaron Sorkin

What it’s about: Chronicles Mark Zuckerberg’s complicated journey towards creating Facebook. Sorkin depicts both the founders motivations for starting the largest social network in the world and the human casualties that came with his profound success.

What it’s like: The fascinating biographical elements of Shattered Glass meets the courtroom drama of Kramer vs. Kramer, without the tears. Sorkin cuts between Zuckerberg’s heated depositions with his former Harvard colleagues who  claimed he stole Facebook from them and the chronological retelling of the company’s trip to becoming a billion-dollar enterprise.

Status: In production for Sony Pictures. Jesse Eisenberg plays Zuckerberg while Justin Timberlake portrays Sean Parker, one of the founders of Napster and Zuckerberg’s idol. David Fincher is directing.

Perhaps this movie won’t suck after all!

Facebook Redesigns Help Center

In an effort to make the help center easier to use and a bit more accessbile, Facebook announced that it has redesigned its help center. If you are familiar with the ‘old’ help center, you’ll notice there aren’t a lot of changes. Here is a quick rundown of what’s changed:

  • Filters on the left separate out some of the more popular help topics (such as Facebook basics, safety information, etc) from the rest of the help topics.
  • The new search interface displays related help pages and also displays help topics in other languages if there isn’t a help result returned in your language.
  • Most importantly, Facebook has made help topics easy to share and syndicate with unique URLs given to each topic.

Facebook Help Center – Facebook’s URL Shortener URL shortener

The rise of short form blogging in the form of 140 characters (otherwise known as Twitter) has brought about an influx of URL shorteners.

Perhaps the most popular URL shortener,, has grown tremendously. Large corporations such as Coke have created their own and even Digg has gotten in on the action. hasn’t encountered a ‘real’ competitor and is the clear market leader, but the URL shortener landscape is  about to become very competitive. Google recently launched a URL shortening service and Facebook now has its own URL shortener – It’s unclear how long has been in operation but it appears to be rolled out on a limited basis. It does appear that whenever links are shared within a mobile interface (i.e. an link), it is now automatically shortened using is also active for Facebook usernames. For example, the short URL will take you directly to my Facebook profile page. This will work for any username in the Facebook system.

How To Train Your Staff on Social Media

I wanted to call your attention to a post I wrote for our sister blog [] regarding training your staff on social media.

While it doesn’t deal directly with Facebook, the examples of the negative implications that a companies staff can have while posting and browsing on Facebook increase every day. As a result, being educated or educating itself is vitally important for employees and managers alike.

Here is a short exerpt from the post and I would encourage you to check out the full post!

An ever increasing failure by many corporations when undertaking a social marketing campaign is transparency. Telstra is being as transparent as it gets – publishing their entire social media training guide online. I would encourage you to check it out, learn how you can implement something similar in your company and critique it for additional opportunities to improve the training.

The training guide takes on the forms of a comic book but also includes narration from a speaker with a pretty cool Australian accent. It starts with the most basic social media elements – like “what is Facebook?” From there the training gets into more complex issues like “what if my personal blog post is critical of Telstra?”

Mashable’s Facebook Open Web Awards

Mashable, one of the best Social Marketing blogs out there, recently announced the winners of their 3rd annual Open Web Awards – an international online voting competition that covers major innovations in web technology and achievements in Social Media.

I thought I would provide a quick run-down and a ‘congratulations’ to the Facebook specific winners. Feel free to browse the full 50 Open Web Award Winners.

What would your choices have been?