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Thursday 16 June 2011

Address Book Burgling

WARNING: If a message gets posted on your Facebook page containing a survey allegedly from me, please mail me direct at christinahollis@hotmaildotcom (replacing word 'dot' with an actual dot) to check before continuing. I've heard of a couple of instances lately when questions have been posted asking people 'Do you think Christina Hollis is smart?' or 'Do you think Christina Hollis will make a good parent?' These are clearly spam and have absolutely nothing to do with me. It's this kind of thing that is rapidly putting me off Facebook. I suspect these messages are automatically generated in response to requests for access to on-line address books, so the system can trawl for other 'friends' to contact.

I don't like to think of questions being generated in my name like this. It might seem a minor gripe, but Facebook is so widely used the opportunities for bullying are immense. Imagine an insecure young person seeing their name attached to a question such as 'Do you think so-and so is pretty/fat/smart?'. Social network has revolutionised life for millions of people, and when used for good it's great fun and a vital link between people who would otherwise never meet, but it has its down side.

Have you come across any problems like this? Do you find the benefits of Facebook, Twitter etc outweigh the problems?


  1. Yes, there's actually so-called "games" on Facebook such as 'Rate Your Friends' and 'Compare People', and in the past I've had messages saying so-and-so rated/compared you against another of their friends, sign up now to see what they said! I think for casual users of Facebook and Twitter etc. things like this mean it's probably not worth the hassle of keeping an account on the sites. Tell everyone who's worth telling to phone or email you instead. If you're using the sites as a business tool, then I guess in the long run the benefits come out on top. So long as you nip things like this in the bud, as you're doing Christina, then keeping in contact with the public is more important than what some people choose to do with their time when on Facebook!

  2. Thanks for commenting, Ketinka. A report yesterday said about 100,000 people in the UK stopped using Facebook last year, and I wonder if this isn't one of the reasons. Like fire, social networking tools are great servants, but terrible masters.
    Have a great weekend!