The last couple of weeks have been an odd few for the social media scene. Both Twitter and Facebook have been having screw-ups, including some major privacy breaches by Facebook, and more minor oddities by Twitter. Needless to say, it’s been an exciting week.
“Oh what the f…”
No doubt that was your reaction when you checked twitter last night to find, as many did, that their followers had been reduced to 0. Some time yesterday people started reporting that their followers had been removed, and needless to say they were freaking out.
Tech blog Gizmodo discovered, and subsequently published, a humdinger of a Twitter bug. It seems that by simply typing “accept [name]” into Twitter you could force said user to follow you.
Sure beats following everyone and hoping for return followers.
Twitter responded by reducing people who had used this command’s Twitter followers to 0. Then accidentally set everyone else’s to 0 too. Ooops. But as of my last check everything is back to normal, so no harm no foul.
“Privacy? We don’t need no stinkin’ Privacy!” – Facebook
In what was probably the biggest social media privacy “oops” since it was discovered that Hotmail kept all of its passwords in Plaintext, Facebook started letting users spy on other users private chat. Woohoo, go facebook!
In their on going effort to make you feel as if you have privacy on their site, Facebook implemented a system to allow you to preview your privacy settings. Further, it would allow you to see how your profile would look to some one else. The problem was that said preview also gave you access to their Facebook chat. Oops! Apparently Facebook’s preview didn’t just give you a mockup to the other person prifle, it gave you limited access to their profile.
Apparently it wasn’t limited enough.
There was a bit of hullabaloo back a few months (or was it years?) ago when it came out that Facebook application creators could have fairly unfettered access to your information, even if you didn’t use their application. We posted about how to turn this off, but the fix was limited. If you have the application installed then it is going to pull some data from you. Understandable, if not idea.
At least you have to opt-in right?
Wrong. Last week it came out that due to a bug in Facebooks sharing tools, websites you visit could covertly install applications on your Facebook account.
It seems that Facebooks Open Graph API, intended to integrate your internet activity with Facebook, letting you easily copy comments left on external websites to your Facebook profile. A nice idea. Unfortunately it seems that it had other unexpected results.
According to Facebook, these applications were little more than ghosts, sharing no information. But if you want to be sure, you can go to “account” (top left of the screen), hit “application settings”, and delete applications or edit their settings.