Your Email Notice From Facebook Contains A Virus?

So you’ve diligently endured the process of confirming all your Facebook profile and privacy settings. You’ve set your Notifications so that you’ll be notified if someone tags you in their photo, so it comes as no surprise when you receive an email from Facebook telling you that a close friend added a photo of you  to their album. They’ve even included the photo as an attachment, which is very convenient since you’re dying to know which of your friends posted a picture of you. And then you click on the attachment…

Only one problem. Turns out that email wasn’t from Facebook after all, and you’ve enabled a trojan by clicking on that attachment link.facebook spam email


How did that happen? That email looked legit – it used that familiar Facebook blue color, and the even appeared in the From field. Plus, you really wanted to know who it was that uploaded a picture of you. But in reality that message was not sent by Facebook.

So how can you tell the difference between a legitimate Facebook notification and potentially harmful spam? The answer is not always clear, but let’s take a look at a legitimate notification from Facebook.Facebook legitimate email

A significant feature in the legitimate email is the name of the friend in question – both in the subject and in the email content. If you have images enabled in your email client you’ll even see your friend’s recognizable profile photo. If you don’t see the name or don’t recognize your friend, that’s a red flag.

Notice also that even though this legitimate email has clickable buttons, there’s not an attached file for you to click. Facebook will not send you an attachment in a notification.

One common method people often use to identify spam is to look for a recognizable domain in the From  field. This is not a fail safe method, as illustrated with these two examples. Notice that the legitimate email and the spam trojan message both show the domain. Just because it looks like it came from the proper domain doesn’t always mean a message is safe.

Facebook NotificationFinally, if there’s ever any doubt, just log in to your Facebook account. Any legitimate messages for you will appear with the red tag in the top navigation bar.

Spammers continue to be creative in the ways they get us to click on their links, and we need to continue to be diligent in scrutinizing our email. You should never open an attachment that comes from a source you don’t recognize, but since Facebook is such a recognizable name, it’s being used to leverage malicious activities. Remember that email from Facebook is always IN ADDITION to the messages it delivers directly to your Facebook account. When in doubt, log into your Facebook account to see your legitimate massages.

Ashton Kutcher’s Lessons In Social Media Management

There was a ripple in the Twitter ocean this past week. It seems Ashton Kutcher, the disputable Twitter King, is placing himself in Twitter time-out – perhaps permanently – as a result of a social media blunder.

The Issue: Kutcher posted a tweet denouncing the firing of Penn State football coach as a result of the investigation into the child sex abuse scandal. The ‘tweet’ in question was:

That was published to his 8+ million followers. After coming under immediate fire from the Twittersphere, Kutcher deleted the post and began backpedaling. He tweeted, “Heard Joe was fired, fully recant previous tweet! Didn’t have full story.” Then he followed up with another short series of tweets culminating that he’s signing off from Twitter for a bit.

But then he took it a step further, announcing that he’ll be handing over the management of his Twitter stream to a social media management company he had previously created.

So now he’s the ‘proxy’ king of Twitter?

Kutcher detailed in a blog post that this all started when he saw a headline on TV that Paterno had been fired. He said he assumed that it was because of Paterno’s recent football record and his age, so he fired off his tweet.

His story’s a bit of a stretch, since the Penn State story was very widely reported, even before Paterno was fired. Additionally, one would think that Kutcher would be especially aware of the consequences of tweeting before thinking, given both the size of his following and his his recent expressions of frustration in the way gossip spread regarding his marital troubles. If he did, in fact, write that tweet without regard to even the smallest details of the case, his admission of idiocy seems to be accurate.

The Lesson: Regardless of the intent at the time, Kutcher’s many mea culpa’s were logical. Not because he’s not entitled to have the unpopular opinion that he initially expressed, but because he’s well aware of his purpose for being on Twitter. Kutcher’s purpose is the same as many pop stars: “to be popular”. Kutcher enhances his marketability or ‘box-office’ value not by being controversial, profound, informative, or intelligent, but by being liked.

Since Kutcher has removed himself from direct access to his feed, many feel he’ll lose a significant part of his massive following. Then again, I find it hard to believe that @aplusk (Kutcher on Twitter) is as big an idiot as he’s claiming to be. The story is covered by hundreds of news outlets, and announcing the outsourcing of his tweets brings a nice bit of publicity to his social media management company. Furthermore, many people (well, at least people who care about pop celebrities – still, an astonishing number) will sympathize with his ‘mistake’, ultimately increasing his following – and commercial value – even more.

Knowing one’s purpose in any social media channel is key in guiding activity. Whether proactively posting content or reacting to criticism or blunders, keeping the overall, big-picture goals in mind will guide the decisions at each step.

So especially those of you in my social media courses, what are the other takeaways you can find in this example? Does this example demonstrate anything you can apply or strategically avoid in your own personal or business strategy. Not everyone has the same social media objectives as pop stars (thank goodness), but keeping your big picture in mind will help guide your routine activities.

A New Session On Blogging

blogging basicsA new session on blogging starts up today. This new class, Blogging For Passion Or Profit, assumes students have minimal experience creating content online, and will review the options for creating and maintaining a blog.

The overall goals of the class include:

  • Understanding what a blog is and the potential uses for/purposes of blogs.
  • Creating posts and commenting on a live blog.
  • Defining objectives for participants’ own blogs.
  • Creating either a self-hosted or free online blog.
  • Managing the appearance and content of blogs.

Students will be creating their own blogs, but they will also use this very blog for creating posts and commenting. The Selective Social Media blog will also be used in various demonstrations as the class progresses.

Members of the blogging class will soon be receiving an email with login and password for this blog in order to write posts. The only folks I have emails for are Carmen, Mary, and Lee. The rest, please contact me via the Contact page of this site and let me know your email address. Otherwise I’ll get it in class.

Google Agrees With Selective Social Media

So it seems Google has caught up with what I’ve been saying all along…

While I have advocated against the practice of indiscriminately building the largest social media networks possible, there have been plenty of folks who disagree. Their point is usually that one is only as influential as the size of their network.

Yesterday, Matt Cutts, an engineer/mouthpiece for Google, announced that Google essentially agrees with me. As recent as May of this year, Google did not track social media influences, but currently they do, in fact monitor “social signals”.

Cutts goes on to stress that they also look for the quality of social media connections, that it’s not just about the number of followers. A strong endorsement for my position!

For more of the specifics, see this article on how Google and Bing address social signals.