Blown To Bits

Facebook Getting Scammy

Thursday, February 26th, 2009 by Harry Lewis

Facebook has lowered the standards it uses to decide what kinds of advertisements to accept. Thanks to Valleyway for this list of “services” ¬†it used to ban but now allows:

* “Work-at-Home” Scams
* “Free Trial” Diet Products that bill your credit card well before the trial period ends, then refuse to let you cancel
* “Free Federal Grant Money” rackets where you pay get a list of ’secret’ free grant programs (no such thing as a free lunch)
* “Free Ringtone” subscription services (The Florida Attorney General’s Office had a field day with this one)
* “Free IQ Surveys” that feed you a bunch of easily answered questions before you are required to pay to see the results.
* “Cash4Gold” Programs encouraging you to shove your jewelery in an envelope and mail it in for a third of its actual value

And some “make-money-with-Google” schemes that were totally bogus, even according to Google.

Facebook has had a bad run of privacy issues, so bad that they can’t be excused simply as misjudgments by the overgrown adolescents who work at the company. (See¬†Your Facebook Data Belongs to Facebook ‚Äî Now and Forever, for example.)

But this one feels different. It looks like a desperate and unsustainable move to increase short-term revenues. This is the sort of thing a company might do to make its balance sheet look good for a potential investor. Or maybe it has just woken up to the fact that it doesn’t have a business model and is developing one by trial and error. Please, guys, talk to your users before you try stuff like this.

Oh yes. And Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer, Chris Kelly, is running for the office of Attorney General of California. Perhaps the anyway-sparse adult supervision at Facebook is even scantier these days.

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