Are Facebook fan pages paving the way for viruses?

In the last few years society has become much more computer safety and virus savvy.  That’s not to say that all viruses, spyware and malware have disappeared off the radar but people are starting to question content a little bit more.  Many more people don’t open attachments from unknown senders although it is still easy to get caught by an email hoax

The latest fashion of fan pages on Facebook is starting to erode all that good work on content awareness as they force people to click a link or Like button before they know what they are getting into.  This is becoming more common and the characteristics are virus like.

How it works

1. The fan page publishes itself to your friend’s profile page and therefore shows up in your news feed.

2. You click on the “Hilarious” link to find out what it’s all about

3. You cannot view the content without signing up or clicking the Like button

4. You then get access to the picture BUT the page also publishes itself to your profile page and your friends’ news feeds

5. They click the link and the cycle starts all over again!

What’s the problem?

Some might say that this is no problem, it’s marketing and publicity.  I have no problem with the pages themselves but the method used is desensitising users to ‘mindless’ clicking.  There is no concept of questioning the content, it forces you to click/accept/like the page before you know what you’re getting. 

This technique will lead us back to where we were a few years ago where people will click anything that is presented to them! It would be quite easy to spoof these pages and send them out as Facebook styled emails to get people to give up their Facebook passwords or download viruses/malware to their computer. 

More information

See this BBC News article about ‘clickjacking’ (c/o twitter.com/xannov)

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