If you get a Wall message saying the following, DO NOT VISIT THAT SITE listed in the Wall message!!

has anyone messaged you to let you know your facebook pic was just featured on [site URL removed]

If you do visit that site and enter your log-in information and other information, that site will then “harvest” your facebook friends list and send them spam, fill your in-box with spam, and charge your cell phone $9.99 a month.  Yes, that bad!

The following websites seem to be involved — avoid them at all costs:  datbug.com, gabblemodule.com, and friends-to-friends-only.com …  [Update 1/12/2009: Also, cackletoss.com ]

A blog, Play This Magazine, has an excellent explanation of what happens if you do log in and let it steal your information.  Raises the hair on my back and sends shivers down my spine …

Here’s a picture of what this wall post looks like:

EDIT: If you DO visit this site, you won’t be able to leave that page or even close your browser!  If that happens, and you’re using a PC (not Mac), press CTRL-ALT-DEL, select “Task Manager,” click on the “Process” tab, and find your Internet browser listed in it (“Firefox.exe” for Firefox, or “iexplore.exe” for IE, or “netscp.exe” for Netscape).  Select that on the list and click on “End Process,” and say “Yes” to the warning.

On a Mac, press option-Apple-Esc.  That’ll bring up a “Force Quit” dialog box. Choose your web browser (Firefox, Safari, whatever), and press the “Force Quit” button.  (Thanks, Jenny!!)

For a long time, Facebook has been making it a practice to show email addresses on people’s profile pages as a jpg picture rather than as an actual string of characters.

But did you know that the mobile web version of Facebook displays the same email addresses as an actual string of characters?

Publishing email addresses as a jpg picture on your Facebook profile makes it difficult for spammers to harvest email addresses from our profiles.  That is, spammers have tools that examines web pages and when an email address (xxx@xxx.xx) is detected, it is copied and then used to send spam to.  Publishing an email address as a picture rather than as a text prevents these tools from actually copying these email addresses (unless the tool is sophisticated enough to do optical character recognition as well).

However, publishing your email address as a picture also makes it slightly difficult for us to email each other.  When I want to email a friend via conventional means rather than than via Facebook’s email system, I can’t just copy and paste that friend’s email address (if the friend allows it to be displayed on his/her profile) into the to: field of a new email.  Rather, I have to memorize the address, switch to my email window, and type the email address from memory.  If the friend has a ridiculously complicated address – like sfz1998ltr@slfx.net – I often have to switch windows back n fro several times.

So it comes as a surprise to me to see that the mobile web version of Facebook shows the same email addresses in text.  Won’t it be easy for spammers to just use the mobile web version instead and harvest email addresses that way?

Perhaps Facebook thinks spammers aren’t as smart as you and me.  And perhaps I shouldn’t be printing this blog post and giving spammers some ideas …  Hmmm.

(And perhaps you’d better make sure your privacy settings are set so that your Facebook profile email address can only be viewed by “friends!”)

A couple weeks ago, the latest Facebook craze was getting your (or your friends or enemies’) photos re-done at YearbookYourself. And now that fad’s gone, and we’ve got a new fad.

At YearbookYourself, happy campers put their face (beautiful or otherwise) into different photos from the 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s, 1980’s, and 1990’s. Different apparel, hairstyles, and accessories through the decades can be seen, and people had a blast finding which hairstyle looked the funniest on these photos. And then folks made those photos their profile photos.

Here’s my favorite (thanks so much, Drago – I think!) — something from the 1980’s:

But YearbookYourself is so yesterday. Today’s new rage? FaceYourManga. You get to create a “comic-book” avatar using dozens upon dozens of tools — and it’s very likely that you’d be able to make an avatar that looks much like you. Or an unflattering one of your enemy.

Here’s my avatar. I absolutely love it.

By the end of the week, FaceYourManga will be so yesterday too. What’s tomorrow? I don’t know – stay tuned …

(Thanks, Adam and Drago, for pointing me toward this!)

I get plenty of emails from Facebook.  A lot of emails, in fact.  They’re all notifications informing me whenever someone sends me an (internal) Facebook email, leaves a post on my wall, or makes a comment on my photo / video / story / status / etc.

For a while now, these Facebook notification emails also included the actual words of whatever nuggets of wisdom these friends had been sprinkling on my profile, with one glaring exception: whenever someone left a comment on my photos, these words were not also included in the Facebook notification emails.  I had to follow the link within these notification emails to see which photo and also to see the actual words contained in the comments.

(Does this make sense?  Well, if you’re a rabid Facebook fan like I am, you’d be nodding in emphatic agreement with what I just said in the preceding paragraph.)

No longer.  Facebook notification emails now contain the words of the comments left on my photos (or photos of me or following my comments on other folks’ photos).  Hooray for small favors.

Now if only these Facebook notification emails also contain a thumbnail of that photo so I know which *%^)$(#&ing photo my friends are commenting on.

One of the hottest Facebook applications (and one which I’ve studiously avoided in the interests of conserving my precious free time!), Scrabulous, has been relaunched as WordScraper.

WordScraper is similar to Scrabulous (and Scrabble), except that the bonus tiles and board dimensions are different.

Scrabulous was identical to Scrabble, and up till several months ago Scrabulous had gotten away with such an obvious trademark infringement. Hasbro (the owner / manufacturer of the Scrabble board games) filed suit against Scrabble in court, and recently released a new Scrabble Facebook application in conjunction with EA (Electronic Arts). In response, the two brothers who developed Scrabulous chose to take down that Facebook app and yesterday put up WordScraper.

Scrabulous had way more fans and users than the Scrabble Facebook application. I’m curious to see how fast WordScraper zooms its way up the charts.

(Thanks, Inside Facebook!)

Facebook makes it easy for people to find and contact you. Now, the question is, do you want them to find you? Fortunately, there’s a Facebook page where you can make changes to whether non-friends can find and contact you.

If you go to the Facebook Search Privacy page, you’ll see a range of settings. You can set who can find you via the search box on Facebook (everyone, your networks, friends of friends, friends, and/or custom). You can turn off the “public search listing” that shows up in Google (!!) — I forgot about that one myself. And you can turn on or off several settings for how people can view or contact you; whether they can see your picture, send you a message, add you as a friend, and/or view your friend list. (I didn’t realize my “view your friend list” was still checked! I’m gonna uncheck it right now.)

See screenshot below.

Facebook Search Privacy

Now, go forth and make yourself invisible to non-friends if you want!

This is part of an on-going series of posts on Facebook privacy.  See related posts on photo albums, profile page, and search options.

Facebook LogoCan anybody and their taxi drivers view your Facebook profile? Do you really want them to?

Facebook has made it possible for you to individually set the privacy levels for almost all areas (or “boxes”) on your profile page via its profile privacy page. There, you can adjust privacy settings for the profile as a whole, for your basic and personal info, status updates, photos and videos tagged of you, your list of friends, your wall, and your work and education information. You can set these individually to be viewed only by your friends, by your friends and network(s), or by friends of friends. You can even customize these settings by picking one or more of these options. See screenshot below (click for a larger view).

Facebook Profile Privacy page

I thought my profile was limited to just my friends. Much to my dismay and while checking my profile privacy page for this post, I discovered that my profile wasn’t limited to only my friends. In fact, when I joined the Washington, DC network so that I could have Facebook Chat, my privacy settings were changed (without my knowledge) so that EVERYONE in the Washington, DC settings could view my profile! Aiiigggggh! The screenshot above shows that “Only Friends” and everyone in the “Washington, DC” network can see my profile stuff. I’m changing my settings so that only my friends can see my profile and the boxes on it.

Anyway …

Many folks may want to make sure their profiles are viewable only by their own friends. Some folks are more, ahem, open or seeking or adventuresome and may want to open up their profile. Either way, you may want to check your profile privacy page and make sure the settings there are what you want (or expect!) them to be. In my case, I’m glad I checked — I didn’t know 8,000,000 people in Washington, DC could view my profile. (And in fact, just about anybody can change or add their network to Washington, DC even if they’re not living there.)

This is part of an on-going series of posts on Facebook privacy.  See related posts on photo albums, profile page, and search options.

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