Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Facebook Will Try to Ruin You

We must accept that just about everyone you know is on Facebook.

We must also acknowledge that Facebook is a shady piece of software that supports shady apps with an embarrassment of security issues.

Here's what happened a few days ago...

I started getting notifications that certain people had accepted my friend requests. These happened to be people that I knew—but I hadn't sent these friend requests.

My Facebook account was sending friend requests to people on my behalf.

If they'd been strangers, I'd suspect that the account had been hacked... but like I said, these were people that I *knew*. I thought, perhaps, Facebook was suggesting these friends based on mutual contacts... but some of these friends had no overlapping social connections. People I hadn't seen in years. People I'd broken up with.

Tried to look for a solution online and couldn't find an easy, one-stop answer. After some further digging, however, I think I know what might have happened.

I'd recently upgraded the shitty Facebook app on my Droid phone—with the dim hope that the upgrade would make the app less shitty. (Didn't.) It involved uninstalling and reinstalling the app... which is where I suspect the app harvested all my phone contacts and started going to town on my behalf. Facebook pretended to be me! Contacting people I hadn't seen or spoken to in YEARS and requesting virtua-friendship.

Knowing is half the battle. But that other half is still pretty important.

Facebook tech support is pretty much nonexistent. There are all sorts of things you can't do; things that would seem obvious, like being able to see a list of "pending friend requests". There are awkward work-arounds for this but there is also an app you can install to show you a straight-forward list of all the friend requests you've sent that are pending confirmation. Wasn't thrilled at the prospect of installing a new app on my account but figured wtf.

Seemed to work. Found a list of 18 (!) friend requests that were pending approval. EIGHTEEN ADDITIONAL PEOPLE that Facebook had fucking contacted on my be-fucking-half!!!

Went about canceling the requests. So far, the list hasn't added additional people, which leads me to believe that it WAS that Droid app that tried adding a bunch of contacts as a one-time thing.

Other people must have experienced this issue. This is why I post these experiences online. So that people with the same problem might find some information. There really should be a mainstream story about this.


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