The note sent out by Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg today showed why there is such a need for privacy control & reform on Facebook & other social networking sites.

Man, this was a real eye-opener for me. Like 350 million other users, I got the notice that Zuckerberg had sent out a mass message to us all, telling us of the reforms that Facebook is making to its service.  Wondering if there was anything other than the removal of the long-obsolete regional groups (which had been leaked as a trial balloon weeks ago), I clicked through and read the missive.

Down at the bottom, I saw that there were about 32,000 comments. I figured that there must be some kind of flame war – predictable whenever anyone associated with Facebook changes anything. Or doesn’t change anything. Or participates. Or fails to participate.

But instead I found the comment thread completely overrun with spam.

[NB: The photo uploader for this blog is down, due to Dreamhost moving all our web properties to a new server. But go ahead and click through, and you’ll see an amazing profusion of come-ons for free iPods, Macbooks, yada yada.]

It surprised me that even a message from Facebook’s founder is vulnerable to such crude spam. You’d think that Facebook would have monitors on duty to weed out the spammers.

This also calls into question the much-touted “350 million user” benchmark that Facebook announced this week. If there are this many brazen spammers trying to piggyback oin Zuckerberg’s message, how many other user accounts are just there to try to hock us all into clicking through onto some exploit site to turn our computers into part of a pr0n and v1@gr@ bot-net?

I think that the elimination of the regional groups is a step in the right direction. But now that so many of us are spending so much time on Facebook & other social networking sites, it is even more imperative that these sites start policing their userbase. 

, , , , , , , , , ,