My Facebook Hacked! Why it Was Good and Bad Experience

February 22, 2011 § 1 Comment


Got Hacked

2.21.11  Last Thursday morning I got a text from a friend asking me if the “iPad news was spam”. At first, I was not sure what he was referring to so I checked the news to see what was out there. Sure enough, some rumors were swirling around regarding the upcoming release of the  iPad. I let him know what he’s hearing is probably true, especially since it is being reported in the New York Times.

I get another text saying what about the news “you got an iPad for free – it is on your Facebook update”. Now I am thinking, here we go. I am finally one of those guys that got hacked. Sure…my password as not super difficult, but really?

Anyway, I immediately take the post down, which 5 people have already liked and 2 people have commented on. I change my password and call it a day.

However, the incident kept creeping up. I got 5 texts that day asking me if the iPad link is legitimate. I get a call from my wife and emails from friends. As it turns out, most people who know me figured I would not post junk on Facebook. Some folks were leery, which was really the impetus behind the very first text I got, but people who reached out were hopeful this was a way to get a free iPad.

I also learned from several friends the link  was one of those offers where you sign up for 5 credit cards,auto  insurance, magazine subscriptions, etc and once all of the offers are fulfilled you get your iPad. Sure…it takes a while, kills your credit, but someone is happy because they just got a bunch of referral commissions and the person gets an iPad…maybe a year later. Yes, someone actually tried the link.

Over the last 5 years, I have been intimately tied to social media for work and for personal use. What I l was reminded from this event is that the social space amongst friends is still very much like a conversation. My friends trusted that I was a good source of information and that this was not spam.

Most importantly…ff this was a legit offer it would have really had an impact.

As a marketer and social networking participant, it is necessary to remember that social networking is a way for people to connect with each other. And, that many of those connections are based on real life. Therefore, when someone is reading an update from a friend they are doing so through the lens of their relationship. Social spam seeks to exploit that and apparently does a decent job of doing it.

My takeaway is this – as a legitimate marketer…really think about the Facebook updates you ask people to make or hope they would make on your behalf. In places like Facebook where the average person has something like a 160 friends a message can spread pretty easily. Think about the quality of the message and what one person is thinking as they send it to their friends as a personal message from themselves. Give any message you want to posts a spam gut check – does it sound like spam, would you want to read that message, does offer any value, etc.

Anyway, this is my rant for today and I would love to hear anyone’s thoughts or lessons learned from being hacked on a social network.

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