Many of Facebook’s half-billion global users are confronting an annoying viral scam that raises yet again concerns about how secure people are when they log on to the addictive social network.
Dubbed the “Dislike Button,” the scam asks users to click on a link, which they believe will show dislike for a status update. Upon doing so, the user is asked to take a survey, thereby helping the scam’s owner generate some revenue. It also asks them for access to the user’s profile, and upon being given permission, starts sending status updates to all their friends mentioning the button. The viral scam is something that Facebook said on its security blog users should stay away from.
Although the Dislike Button scam is yet another in a long line of security problems affecting the social network, it effectively highlights some of the issues that users are seeing with Facebook. And although they’re not all as serious as the aforementioned scam, they in some way detract from the experience of using the social network.
Let’s take a look at some of the quirks that should be addressed by Facebook.
1. A real “dislike” button
Part of the reason why the “Dislike Button” scam has been so successful is that Facebook won’t allow a dislike button on its site. Currently, if a user views a friend’s status update, they can only “like” it. But for those folks who don’t like the update, there isn’t an option to “dislike” it. Maybe it’s time Facebook offers that feature. It won’t help folks win popularity contests, but it’s something that most users have been waiting a long time for.
2. Design changes galore
Over the past year, Facebook has made several design tweaks. And every time the company has done so, the vast majority of Facebook users have spoken out against them. Over time, the complaints die down, but the damage is done. If nothing else, Facebook has learned that its users don’t like change. And yet, the company continues to change the site’s design. Hopefully the current version of Facebook will be around for the long haul. Even though users griped, it actually works quite well.
3. Privacy, anyone?
Privacy has been a hot-button issue in the Facebook realm for quite some time. It became so bad earlier this year that some users staged a protest by leaving Facebook. Only about 30,000 users left the site, but it made enough news for the rest of the community to take notice. Facebook continues to say that it values user privacy, and its new privacy settings are a good first step in proving that, but the company needs to do more to truly make its users happy.
4. The ever-increasing worry of security
As the “Dislike Button” scam has shown, security is becoming an even greater issue on Facebook. In fact, a recent study from Sophos found that 60 percent of IT managers believe that Facebook poses a greater security threat than any other social network. One of the biggest worries was Koobface, a sophisticated worm that has affected some Facebook (and, admittedly, other social networks) user accounts. Those, along with several other scams, have caused some to call upon Facebook to improve its security.
Facebook Needs Security, Privacy in Line with Web Influence
5. FarmVille addicts
FarmVille might be the most popular game to ever hit Facebook, but that doesn’t mean that users should be inundated with updates from it. As most Facebook users know, the social network is pelted by FarmVille updates from other users who love the game. Whether it’s a request for a new stable for horses or something else, FarmVille updates are extremely annoying. And they generally break the flow of the news feed. They should be kept in check far more effectively than they are now.
6. A true enterprise focus
In this time when budgets are small, the enterprise has found that sites like Facebook and Twitter work quite well for getting teams to work closely. But they’ve also been burned by Facebook’s security and privacy problems. Realizing that, maybe it’s time for the social network to think about its enterprise strategy. If it can make the site more appealing to companies, it could go a long way toward ensuring its longevity. After all, there are several enterprise-focused social networks on the Web. Why shouldn’t Facebook be one of them?
7. It’s time to be honest
As mentioned, Facebook has had some trouble selling users on the viability of its privacy settings. But the main reason why it has such trouble is because the company isn’t as honest as it should be. It needs to make it clear that it has a vested interest in seeing users share content. It should inform them that the more they share, the more the company stands to gain financially through more targeted advertising. It might turn some users off, but others will welcome the honesty. Facebook wants users to share information. Maybe it’s time it admits that.
8. More security features
As more scams continue to impact Facebook, it’s time for the social network to implement more effective security measures. The company’s blog is fine for informing the public of issues, but it’s time that Facebook adds better authentication. And perhaps most importantly, it shouldn’t provide such easy access to a user’s profile page. That alone could go a long way in keeping scams from growing as rapidly as they do now.
9. The tired Facebook Marketplace
When Facebook launched its Marketplace, there was a strong hope that the service could become a place where its 500 million active users buy and sell goods. The only problem is that Facebook Marketplace doesn’t have the kind of appeal that the social network had hoped for. And so far, it has proved to be an extra page that few people pay attention to. It’s time Facebook ditches the Marketplace, or at least makes it less obtrusive to those users who don’t visit it.
10. The defaults that scare users
When it comes to privacy, much of the outcry is over Facebook’s default settings. Unless a user goes into his or her account settings and alters them, all kinds of information will be readily available to others. For example, Facebook Ads displays user information in ads to other friends by default. In order for users to change that, they need to ask the service to not share any information through ads with anyone else. That’s a mistake. Facebook needs to go back to the drawing board when it comes to defaults.