Facebook Puts on Its Chain Mail

chain_jpg_2.pngWith all the recent talk of spam and viruses lately it appears Facebook has truly hit mainstream. You know when the spammers have hit there is truly value in a service. Today I noticed a new trend on Facebook, previously only known to the likes of Snail Mail and E-mail itself, the chain letter. It wasn’t in the form of an application or even a bot of some sort as you would expect on the service. Surprisingly, it was hand-written by who-knows-who and had somehow made it around to my wife’s cousin, who sent it to me. Subsequently, several of my other friends seem to have got it, because I received it from a few others as well.

The letter goes like this:

“Subject: ATTENTION ALL FACEBOOK MEMBERS August 20 at 8:13pmReply Attention all Facebook members.Facebook is recently becoming very overpopulated,There have been many members complaining that Facebookis becoming very slow.Record shows that the reason isthat there are too many non-active Facebook membersAnd on the other side too many new Facebook members.We will be sending this messages around to see if theMembers are active or not,If you’re active please sendto 15 other users using Copy+Paste to show that you are activeThose who do not send this message within 2 weeks,The user will be deleted without hesitation to create more space,If Facebook is still overpopulated we kindly ask for donations but until then send this message to all your friends and make sure you sendthis message to show me that your active and not deleted. Founder of FacebookMark Zuckerber”

It is sent via the traditional Facebook mail, which the API has no access. I asked my wife’s cousin if they sent it, and indeed, they actually did forward it to 15 of their friends as the e-mail directs. Therefore it appears this one, amazingly, is being spread, manually, from person to person on Facebook.

Now, I’m probably preaching to the choir here on my blog, as I sincerely hope none of you would fall for this. Typically, anything that says, “forward to x number of your friends” is not for real and you should report it or mark it as spam immediately. “Mark Zuckerber” is not going to know you forwarded it to all your friends, and Facebook is not tracking this mail in anyway. Your account will not be deleted.

This seems to go back to the days of the Microsoft lottery e-mail hoax that basically said if you forward to all (or any number of) your friends, you get entered for the chance to win a million dollars (or similar amount of money). Supposedly in this e-mail Bill Gates was able to track the e-mails you sent and they were using this to track the number of e-mails that went out.

This does beg the question though – how do normal users of Facebook know for 100% clarity that a message comes directly from Facebook, if they ever need to send something to their users? Is there an “official” method for distributing such messages? Thus far I’m only aware of various blogs on the Facebook site to announce this information.

Now, when people compare Mark Zuckerberg to Bill Gates, I’m not quite sure this is the way he wants to be portrayed. In such a controlled environment as Facebook, do messages like this have any excuse?

Have you seen anything similar? Share your stories here. You’ll find me on Facebook at http://jessestay.socialtoo.com.

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jessestay

Jesse Stay has been a pioneer in the space of social media marketing since before it was called "social media marketing". Originally a software developer, Jesse built a tool called SocialToo.com which helped brands like Pepsi, Brittany Spears, and MC Hammer grow their social media presence, and before he knew it brands were coming to him for help to grow their presence in very unique ways. His tool was featured on almost every tech blog and even mainstream news sites like New York Times, Techcrunch, and Mashable. Jesse also spent a brief period working FOR Facebook, Inc., helping them to build out their documentation to help companies integrate Facebook Connect into their websites and mobile apps. Jesse took his skills and helped the LDS Church kick off most of its social media programs. While there he helped launch the award-winning "I'm a Mormon" marketing campaign with global reach worldwide in the millions of views and followers. Jesse established new global programs at the Church to further grow its reach amongst both members and non-members of the Church, working with every department of the Church, also including entities like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Brigham Young University. He also helped the Church navigate its voice and presence during the Mitt Romney Presidential campaign due to the significant attention the Church was getting at the time. He established the social media advertising techniques and strategies employed at Deseret Digital Media growing over 20 million fans across their news properties in just 6 months, and was featured on AdWeek for his success. As founder and Principal of Stay N Alive, Jesse has developed very unique techniques in social media advertising to help organizations grow presences, within months on minimal budgets, into hundreds of thousands of highly relevant and engaging fans and followers. He designed and teaches social media advertising at LDS Business College. He has helped grow sales, and has a belief that yes, you CAN measure social! Jesse has been featured as one of 10 entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter (next to Biz Stone and Ev Williams, founders of Twitter) by Entrepreneur magazine. Jesse has written 9 books on the topic of social media marketing and development, including Google+ Marketing For Dummies and Facebook All In One For Dummies, and eats, lives, and drinks social media with a personal combined presence of over 600,000 followers on his personal social profiles.

0 thoughts on “Facebook Puts on Its Chain Mail”

  1. Back in the day, I worked for AOL (after being acquired while working for Netscape). They had a method for displaying email in their proprietary client that was “official” form AOL. If the message window changed colors to blue (IIRC), the message was from AOL; otherwise, the message window stayed the default color.

    I could've sworn Facebook had something similar, until I went digging through my FB Inbox area… everything I've received came through in the Inbox as mail (Facebook Developers), or an Update (Facebook Profile Pages). It doesn't appear that I've ever received anything from plain old Facebook corporate that I hadn't opted in to. You would think it would be simple enough to skin the UI for an Update/Inbox message to reflect the fact that it's an “official” message.

  2. I agree Jason – Facebook really needs a way to pass on “official”
    message to its users. With the outbreak of viruses, phishing,
    spyware, etc. utilizing the network, they need some way other than
    blogs to communicate this to their users, but their users need to be
    able to trust that these e-mails are truly from Facebook in the first
    place.

  3. Back in the day, I worked for AOL (after being acquired while working for Netscape). They had a method for displaying email in their proprietary client that was “official” form AOL. If the message window changed colors to blue (IIRC), the message was from AOL; otherwise, the message window stayed the default color.

    I could've sworn Facebook had something similar, until I went digging through my FB Inbox area… everything I've received came through in the Inbox as mail (Facebook Developers), or an Update (Facebook Profile Pages). It doesn't appear that I've ever received anything from plain old Facebook corporate that I hadn't opted in to. You would think it would be simple enough to skin the UI for an Update/Inbox message to reflect the fact that it's an “official” message.

  4. I agree Jason – Facebook really needs a way to pass on “official”
    message to its users. With the outbreak of viruses, phishing,
    spyware, etc. utilizing the network, they need some way other than
    blogs to communicate this to their users, but their users need to be
    able to trust that these e-mails are truly from Facebook in the first
    place.

  5. Back in the day, I worked for AOL (after being acquired while working for Netscape). They had a method for displaying email in their proprietary client that was “official” form AOL. If the message window changed colors to blue (IIRC), the message was from AOL; otherwise, the message window stayed the default color.

    I could've sworn Facebook had something similar, until I went digging through my FB Inbox area… everything I've received came through in the Inbox as mail (Facebook Developers), or an Update (Facebook Profile Pages). It doesn't appear that I've ever received anything from plain old Facebook corporate that I hadn't opted in to. You would think it would be simple enough to skin the UI for an Update/Inbox message to reflect the fact that it's an “official” message.

  6. I agree Jason – Facebook really needs a way to pass on “official”
    message to its users. With the outbreak of viruses, phishing,
    spyware, etc. utilizing the network, they need some way other than
    blogs to communicate this to their users, but their users need to be
    able to trust that these e-mails are truly from Facebook in the first
    place.

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