Facebook Joins Ranks of Sites Scraping Your Address Book and Spamming Your Contacts – This Time It’s AIM
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The mega popular Facebook site has joined the ranks of social networking sites that trick you into providing your password so that they can steal your AOL or other address book, and spam all of your contacts. (See here for our expose on Flixster, and here for our expose on Quechup.)

Only this time it’s with a twist – they are actually spamming your AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) contacts in your Buddy List!


And we know this to be true, because the Internet Patrol itself got one of the Facebook AIM spams!

Here is what the spam says (name of the user changed to protect the innocent):

“According to his Facebook status, Joe User (joebob) is now “the Top Dog”. Joe invites you to join Facebook and keep up with what he and your other friends are doing:

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https://register.facebook.com/signup/

Already on Facebook? Login here.
You can also reply “menu” for more options.”

Now, here’s the thing. We were stunned that our friend Joe had given Facebook access to his AIM buddy list, because Joe is one of the most security conscious people we know, having done Internet security work for one of the top ISPs in the country!

 

So we asked Joe “How could you do this?” and he explained that the Facebook interface made it look so real, with the AOL logo and all, and he thought they were just going to show him a list of his AIM buddies who were also on Facebook. It was never clear that they were going to scrape his buddy list and spam all of his buddies.

And then he apologized profusely.

Here’s the thing – if Facebook was able to confuse and obfuscate such as to be able to trick our friend Joe – the guy with the Internet security background – then no wonder that Facebook and these other social networking sites are able to hoodwink millions of other users into letting them scrape their AOL, Yahoo, MSN and Gmail address books.

What we want to know is WHY are AOL, Yahoo, MSN and Gmail continuing to let this go on? The social networking sites are using these ISPs’ trademarked logos to trick their own users into giving the social networking sites access onto the ISPs’ own networks, and stealing the contents of their users’ address books! Why aren’t they coming down on them with all their might??

No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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4 thoughts on “Facebook Joins Ranks of Sites Scraping Your Address Book and Spamming Your Contacts – This Time It’s AIM
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  1. Ya, i just saw a bunch of people being offered to befriend that are from my list.. but i didn’t do it. must be from them. annoying!!!!

  2. This just happened to me. My friend didn’t even complete registration as her computer froze. I got the email to join facebook, and it had a list of my friends. I freaked out and called her. We were not impressed. And neither will join facebook.

  3. As I understand it, Joe can hardly be termed a “lamer.” In fact, that is precisely what is so disturbing about this report.
    In my view, all of these sites are desirous of selling ads. The revenue from the ads is generated by clicks. The more eyes, the more chances for clicks; the more clicks, the more money.
    Those allowing the use of their logos (for the express purpose of adding the appearance of legitimacy to the practice at issue) have undoubtedly been paid and liely have an ongoing participation in revenue generated from those they’ve sold out.
    There is, sad to say, no mystery here.

  4. Sites like Facebook, and MySpace are made specifically to take advantage of lamers, and are part of the dumbing down of America.

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