Facebook Follies: Sex, Love, Politics and Bulimia
With Valentine's Day approaching, love is in the air and Facebook scams are starting to get hot and heavy.
Cybersecurity researchers at the security firm Sophos have noticed timely Valentine's Day-themed scams, including one that presents the chance to send a love poem to your special someone and another that promises to reveal who your Valentine date will be.
Love can make people do crazy things including falling for these scams. Clicking on the links embedded in these appealing but rogue messages will take you to Facebook applications that try to sweet-talk their way into accessing your private information.
Sophos also ripped the covers off a scam that is tricking Facebook users in Italy into watching what they believe will be a salacious video of an Italian school teacher stripping.
Those lusting after the footage are sure to be disappointed. Embedded in the video's play button is a malicious script that can allow a hacker to gain unauthorized access to the victim's computer. And to add insult to injury, the video never plays.
Holiday or no, there's one group that really doesn't love Facebook: political dissidents.
A representative of Facebook's public policy team told the British tech website The Register that Facebook's stance on mandating that people register profiles with their real names is non-negotiable.
The policy has been blamed for allowing oppressive governments to easily identify and quash outspoken activists who've expressed their discontent via Facebook and Twitter.
In last month's Tunisian protests , the government reportedly took down the Facebook pages of several high-profile journalists.
Aside from the scams and Facebook's strong stance on using real names, some frightening news is emerging about Facebook's effects on teenage girls.
A study of 248 girls ages 12 to 29 conducted by the University of Haifa in Israel reveals that the more time the girls spent on Facebook, the more they suffered conditions of bulimia, anorexia, physical dissatisfaction, negative physical self-image, negative approach to eating and more of an urge to be on a weight-loss diet.