Facebook mining

Apparently, there are scammers/data miners who are exploiting features, or lack of it, on Facebook. For many years, as far back as when Facebook first started, countless of users have been asking or requesting for a similar feature to Friendster’s “Who viewed my profile”. Steadfastly, Facebook held their ground and refuse to allow such a feature to be implemented.

Malicious programmers are now increasingly exploiting this stance to mine user data (so I have assumed) from unwitting Facebook users, who unknowingly click on Apps attractively titled “Catch Them Being Creepy” or “Check who has viewed your profile!” Or similar.

However users must note that:

  1. There is no API for profile viewing by friends. The app claims to do so, your friends must also install the same application.
  2. Even then, there is no way the application will be able to track the views as, as far as I know, there is no way to insert tracking codes on the profile page, unless you switch to the Boxes tab on your profile(assuming that the application has one).

Now there is no way to stop this kind of exploit from happening. Even if the Facebook administrators manages to clamp down on every single reported app, the damage is done: the rogue developers has gotten some data out of you and your friends. So what can you do?

If you have yet to accept or authorise such apps, don’t authorise. It will automatic call for your data from Facebook and posts on your friends’ and your walls cajoling everyone to use the app as well.

If you have authorised the app, immediately block the application via the privacy settings page (link) or its application page. Go through your own profile and delete all messages that have been posted on your friends’ and your walls.

Note: Data mining is prohibited on Facebook. I am assuming that it is happening, but is largely undocumented.

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