Faking Out Social Network Systems

from the there's-always-an-angle dept

It’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of many of these social networking services. I have nothing against them, I just don’t see how they’ll ever make much money – because they’re mostly based on two ideas that have trouble standing up to scrutiny: (a) people with rich social networks have no problem subsidizing those with weak networks and (b) you can easily define relationships in a binary way. However, I hadn’t even considered other issues with social networks, such as the ability to use them for questionable purposes. For example, this article, which focuses on the security weaknesses of some of these sites briefly mentions a very sneaky use of such a system: virtual identity theft. For example, you create a profile at LinkedIn, pretending to work at a competitor. Then, you sit back and intercept any messages that are intended to go that competitor and use them for your own business instead. Of course, in this case it depends on others in your network not noting that you’re lying, but the number of people I’ve heard of using Linked in who have made connections with people they barely know makes this completely plausible.

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Comments on “Faking Out Social Network Systems”

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Director Mitch (user link) says:

Linked In gearing up for Payments

In a bit of an off-topic post, I will note that Linked-in is requiring “beta” users to fill out a questionaire with questions like “Which credit card would you prefer to use at Linked-in?”, “How often would you prefer to be billed?”.

While not actually billing anything (or asking for any credit card info), it seems they are heading in that direction, at which point we will see how viable a business plan they really have.

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