First Facebook Spam Received

January 6, 2007

This is far from newsworthy, but it marks a new era in the evolution of Facebook. A week ago, I received my first spam message within Facebook. It came from “Luaz Vieria (no network)” and this is a small section of it:

Before I go further, I will like to give you a brief profile
about myself..Mr Luíz Gonzaga Vieira by name 35 years of age,
English,french man married with 3 kids. Due to the nature of my work, I
travel a lot. But my Family resides in Paris, France. I just resigned my
job as a Research Analyst for CIRAD (Agricultural Research and
Development Institute based in France ) but I still work as a freelance
consultant for the institute which gives me very much time to do my own work
which is basically being a freelance researcher who could be employed by
research institutes to do research projects anywhere in the world.
Presently, I have just been granted a funding to head a
research project in the Cocoa Rich regions of West Africa regarding the
growing and handling of cocoa for the benefit of the cocoa community as a
whole – investors , the growers, traders, users and consumers. This
research program will be funded and sponsored by some of my American
counterparts interested in Investing in the Production and Trade. But the only
set back is that the American counterparts want to make payments for
the research informs of US money orders/ cashier’s check only. And its a
known fact that money in such forms cant be cashed outside the US.
Getting an accountant in the states or opening an account would have been
my best choice but I have a deadline to meet and taking any of those
choices would cost me time and a whole lot of other requirements, which I
am not ready to deal with. There is where is need your assistant and
service.

When Facebook began allowing anyone to register, the move was widely criticized in part because it would lead to various abuses of the system. Perhaps the predictions were correct.

Advertisements

Facebook Has a Post Limit

October 16, 2006

I received an interesting email back in August:

Hey,
My name is A*** M***, my account was recently disabled by facebook. I felt alone in my situation until I found people in the same boat as me, thanks to your interesting facebook blog. I was disabled because I have lively discussions on the largest facebook group ever’s wall. Before I came it was not a very nice place, however as a bunch of regulars will note, (regular meaning on atleast 4 hours a day), I changed the discussion to postive. Quickly, I began getting warnings I was reaching the post limit, not realized I had 3 strikes and your out. So, I got the warning, went to bed, and the in the morning I had been given another strike for some reason, a red message appered saying that my account was in jeporday of being deleted. So I made, a joke with my sense humor, and my skills of turning the wall around, and i made a group and invited the wonderful friends I had made on largest group ever to join! But, BAM with in 5 seconds of making it, I was disabled. I’m impulsive when I get pissed off, (thanks to my adhd)..and so i wrote really sketchy/weird and angry emails probably not the best idea.

So yeah, that’s how I got disabled. 12 hours still nothing from facebook.
I tried to explain them how important it was to me, since I am not intellectually simulated in my school, and how meeting other smart colege students was imporant to me. But it probably didn’t come out that way, in fact right now..facebook is probably reading my emails and laughing.

Well, sorry for bothering you with my story,
but your blog was very interesting, and gave me hope
that maybe my account will come back.

It seems Facebook has limits for how many posts one can submit. Seems a little odd for a social networking website to create activity limits, but Facebook is known for its surprises.


Facebook Apologizes

July 13, 2006

Well, it’s official now. The account was not reactivated due to a glitch or an error. It was in fact due to the email conversation held with Christina, the Facebook customer service representative. An email confirmation of this arrived today.

From: Paul from Facebook:

Hi,

After further review, we are going to allow you to continue to use this account under the name you have listed. Your account is presently active. Let me know if you have any trouble using it. I apologize for any inconvenience.


Paul
Customer Service Representative
Facebook

Even the apology I was looking for is there. But who is Paul?


Emails to Facebook

July 10, 2006

Experiment over? That just did not seem right. Something had to be done. A string of emails followed.

To: info@facebook.com (6/14):

Your account has been disabled by an administrator. Please contact info@facebook.com for more information.

From: Christina from Facebook (6/15):

Hey,

Fake names are a violation of our Terms of Use. If you would like to use this profile again, just get back to us with your real name and we will reactivate the account for you.

Thanks for contacting Facebook.


Christina
Customer service representative
Facebook Team

To: Christina from Facebook (6/15):

I apologize for violating your Terms of Use. However, the Terms of Use (or any other section of the website) do not specify what criteria is used to determine whether a name is fake or real. Please clarify this for me.

Also, while a member of Facebook is sent an email about most events, such as a friend request or a wall posting, no alert is sent out upon termination of the account. Why am I expected to respect your rules while you fail to show me even minimal courtesy?

Thank you in advance for addressing my concerns.

From: Christina from Facebook (6/20):

Hi,

Please provide me with your real name and I’ll be more than happy to reactivate your account.

Thanks,


Christina
Customer service representative
Facebook Team

To: Christina from Facebook (6/22):

I fully understand your request.

What I need from you is the criteria used for determining whether a name is fake or real. I would like the information necessary to avoid going through this process again.

I can easily find numerous fake accounts on Facebook. I would like to know why my account was removed and those are still active. If for some reason you are not aware of their existence and I provide you with a list of account IDs I am referring to, will those accounts be removed?

Thank you in advance for addressing my concerns.

From: Christina from Facebook (6/26):

Hi,

Your profile was reported to us and upon investigation was deemed fake. To avoid going through this process again please provide me with your real name.

Thanks!


Christina
Customer service representative
Facebook Team

To: Christina from Facebook (6/27):

Hi Christina,

I feel like we are going in a circle here. I will try to rephrase my previous question one more time. Please answer it this time.

How do you report a profile and what is necessary to have it removed? I would like to help you in your quest to keep Facebook “real”.

Thank you.

From: Christina from Facebook (7/5):

Hi,

Any user can report a profile, picture, group, event, message etc by clicking on the ‘report’ tab on that page. Upon further investigation it was found that the account was fake. The email address does not match the registered name.

Thanks,


Christina
Customer service representative
Facebook Team

To: Christina from Facebook (7/5):

Hi.

Thank you for clarifying the procedure for reporting fake profiles.

The email address that was listed on my Facebook account and the one I used to sign in to Facebook is the same one I have been using to correspond with you. Which part of it does not match?

So far you have not provided me with any evidence that would indicate that my profile is “fake” in any way. I would like to have my account restored until you can prove otherwise.

Thank you.

The world may never know if it was due to this conversation or some glitch in the system, but the profile was reactivated a few days ago. An apology is certainly in order if so many emails were necessary to get to this point.


Mid-June Mail Update

June 11, 2006

Now that new messages are so hard to come by, it feels nice to receive something.

On June 6, Y.W. ’07 wrote:

Dear president Lehman:

Even though you are no longer our president, i still related to you as our president. I am a junior in arts and science, so you had been the president of Cornell since my freshmen year. I often saw you at Ivy room when I went there for lunch or dinner, and i really regret that i did not come up to you and say hi because i thought i would always have the chance to. A lot of my friends at cornell really like you as our president, obviously including myself, it is so unfortunated that you have to leave cornell. I hope that I will still have the chance to see you someday, and i will definitely come up and introduce myself. Where are you working at now? Do you find having a JD degree helpful in whatever that you do? I am a Econ major, during my first two years at cornell, i was actually planning on studying math. I am also considering law school because it has been my dream for years since i was a little kid, but i know it is very hard and it is not for everyone, is there any advice that you can give me. I am currently studying abroad at University College London and I really appreciate Cornell for providing me everything that i have today. I think you have done a great job as a president at Cornell, and i really hope you will come back to visit often.

Best wishes
y*** w***
Art and Science 07′

I think this may be the longest message to date. Certainly the most detailed.


Mid-May Mail Update

May 10, 2006

Two emails were sent by fans in recent weeks.

First one came from Leo on April 22:

Hi. Through some crazy mash of clicks and links I arrived to at your blog… if you are an ex prez of Cornell–that is awesome, I hope all is well.

I don’t know if you have already seen this, but:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/22/nyregion/22image.html

take care,
Leo

Yes, a Facebook profile is a very crazy mash of clicks and links. Awesome!

The other came from Tamara on May 5:

hey whats up cant hear from you

Semi-complete?


250 Days of Mail

March 28, 2006

Although over 300 friend requests (in addition to 19 group and 14 event invites) were sent out during my 250 day retirement from Facebook, only two messages were sent.

On August 8, 2005, G.M. ’05 wrote:

Hello,
I just wanted to let you know that I met your step-daughter Monica at Columbia University this past spring and she was mad chill. Tell her I say what’s up. Hope all is well with you after having stepped down from your position as President of Cornell, which, by the way I was very sad to hear because I had the hopes that you were gonna help change Cornell from becoming the huuuuge corporation it is becoming. toodles. -G*** aka G-money

The daughter mention sparked my curiosity. A search for Monica Lehman and Monica Okun turned up nothing on Facebook. Google was of no help either. I wonder how much truth is to this story.

J.F. ’07 wrote on December 12, 2005:

I know you’re Jewish, so I thought I’d express my emotions in only the way the ancient and poetic Hebrew language can:

מה קרה לך?! זאת היתה ההחליטה הכי טיפשה בעולם! אנחנו עדיין מאמינים בך. כל הכבוד ודרך אגב, אני חושב שזה הזמן להחליף את התמונה שלך.

fight the power!

Surprisingly, I could not find any functional Hebrew-English translation tools online. So much for that.

In addition to Facebook messages, two emails were received. Posting a functional email address on the profile proved to be a step not gone unnoticed.

First one came on October 27:

Dear Professor Lehman,
I hope all is well with you in DC, my name is Emily Kraus and I am currently an A&S freshman at Cornell. I just wanted to say, because I am also a patient of your friend Dr. Linda Waldman, and she spoke very highly of you, so I thought I would drop you a line. Are you in DC for the semester? or for the whole year? because I would love to meet with you at some point just to chat. Talk to you soon!
Sincerely,
E*** K*** ’09

And the other came from D.W. on December 1:

Sir, there is still no Hunter Rawlings on thefacebook.com. Ignorant of how to create a fake facebook profile, I would request that you turn over the user/pass information to Jeffrey S. Lehman ’77 in order that it might be changed over to Hunter R. Rawlings III.

What say you?

Thanks for refreshing a point I made earlier and for the interesting proposition.