AOL Secretly Changing Windows Settings To Stop Messenger Spam

from the good-reason,-but-wrong-practice dept

Microsoft messenger spam is certainly a problem for some who haven’t figured out how to block it. However, that doesn’t mean someone should be able to block it without the user’s permission. Messenger spam isn’t about instant messaging, but about the little notification system that comes with Windows that system administrators sometimes use to provide users with info about updates. Spammers have been abusing it on computers where it’s been left open, and now it turns out that AOL has been quietly turning it off on users’ computers, without them realizing it. Now, it’s admirable that they’re trying to help stomp out some spam (even though, they still like to push their own pop up ads). However, adjusting a user’s Windows settings without them realizing it is not the proper way to do that. What if it’s someone who actually does need to have the messenger service turned on? It also opens up the possibility that AOL could surreptitiously make other changes to your machine (such as blocking competing systems from working). AOL’s response is that the number of people who need it on is a very small number, and they should know how to turn it back on themselves. Funny that AOL gets to decide that for the user, instead of the other way around.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “AOL Secretly Changing Windows Settings To Stop Messenger Spam”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Michael Leuchtenburg says:

the correct way

The correct way to handle this is the way Mozilla handles popups: the first time you see a popup window, it asks you if you want to turn them off. It tells you how to do so, and gives you a “turn them off” (or somesuch) button to open the appropriate section of the prefs and check that box for you. You can also click “No”. It never bugs you about them again, either way.

If AOL handled turning off Windows messenger in the same fashion, it would be much more welcome.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...