Phishing and Social Media

The semantic nature of social networking has hit, head-first, the issue of phishing. A research paper by Peter Mika, discusses the semantic and colloquial nature of social networks, the findings of which offer savvy marketers unprecedented opportunities to understand how to incorporate social network folksonomies into their brand strategies. Yet this fundamental tenet–i.e., semantic relationships–that underpins social networks is vulnerable to phishing. Indiana University follows this phishing expedition via this website, which also has this great slide presentation.

Indeed, on Facebook I’ve been poked by phishing’s less sophisticated step-cousin, spam. Spam can occur in several different forms within a social network’s “gated community.” The form that’s arguably the most prevalent is an unsolicited message from a “friend”. In my case, I confirmed a “friend” who referenced a friend whom I trusted. Immediately, my new “friend” sent me an unsolicited offer to buy a new product that he/she was selling. Not a big deal in the scheme of life’s more important moments, but irritating nevertheless.

On the other hand, I welcome messages from Rohit Bhargava promoting his new book Personality Not Included. On Facebook, I joined Rohit’s
Personality Not Included – The Official Reader’s Group and expected to receive such messages, given the fact that he set up the group as a quasi-commercial network. Further, by following Rohit, I’m gaining tips on how to use Facebook groups responsibly so as not to offend anyone who decides to join any groups I create.