Monday, February 15, 2016

Be Like Bill? No thanks.

It may be the planet's most  successful social media service, but Facebook can still be annoying and dangerous.

In recent weeks, Facebook has been overrun with "Be Like Bill" memes. The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning advising users to not create these memes on their timelines, or respond to or click on them if their friends post them.

It's called clickbait, and under the original terms of use posted by the meme's creator, Bobla, the company said "You will allow us to use, edit your content with our service permanently, no limit and no recover."

While the company has since changed its terms in response to the ensuing uproar on social media, and now says it does not collect any data from the user's Facebook account, countless me-too memes have popped up, and they don't play nice.

In some cases, clickbait, which uses cute memes or provocative headlines - "exclusive", "shocking", "you're not gonna believe this!" - to get you to click, takes you to another website which can infect your computer with malware, spyware, adware or other nasty (at worst) or annoying stuff. It can also allow advertisers to scoop your Facebook information, which can in turn allow them to target you with even more ads.

Facebook allows users to block individual apps and memes, and the BBB recommends that in this case. It also recommends deleting unsolicited emails or social media messages that raise red flags, and not blindly trusting something just because a friend posted it. Also hover over links without clicking them: if the URL that pops up is unfamiliar to you - which is often the case - then don't click.

Or we could all just stop blindly sharing ridiculously brain-dead memes on social media.

Yeah, right. That'll never happen.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

It is why I avoid FaceBorg. Their business model is to tempt people into giving up as much personal information as possible, then monetize the heck out of that.

Gilly said...

I leave Facebook severely alone! I get enough annoying ads without adding annoying people and trolls!

You've been very busy lately, haven't you? Hope all is going well.

Michael Manning said...

This is very good to know, Carmi. I was out to dinner with friends recently, and we discussed that harmful content should be better managed by Facebook, including memes.