Friday, July 03, 2009

TAGGED -- Are You "It"?

Online social networking is a growing industry. There is pressure is on many of us to participate in the same networking sites as our friends. And there seem to be some networking sites too ready to crank up the pressure.

I recently received an email supposedly from an acquaintance whose subject line was "Jill sent you photos on Tagged :)" (and yes the smilicon was part of the line). The body of the email had two buttons, one Yes and one No. The text around them said that Jill had sent me photos on Tagged, did I want to see them? Please respond or Jill may think I said no :( (and yes the frownicon was included). But Yes or No, I had to click!

And I thought, wow, this is really cheesy! Can the attempted manipulation get any more blatant? Who'd fall for this? Then I realized that well, yes, Jill had fallen for this! And she wasn't alone, as I've gotten this and similar ones from other acquaintance. Now these are all smart people, so I'm wondering why.

Just FYI for you all, no you do NOT have to click! Regardless of which you click, Yes or No, you're led to a sign-in page that asks you for your email password. THIS IS A BIG RED FLAG. Would you really give your email password out to anyone asking? Enabling this program will basically raid your email address book and generate similar spam for all your friends and colleagues (which I always find brings us closer) While Tagged is a legal social networking site (apparently considered one of the top ten valuable sites by some technical reviews), it's been criticized by consumer groups for this spam-like practice. The e-mythbusting site has an entry for Tagged (which should be a big hint), as does Wikipedia, for further reading.

If I hadn't emailed the acquaintances who purportedly "Tagged" me I wouldn't have found out that they had not set me any photos, and never intended for me, or their entire address book, to be spammed. They signed up because they got a similar email from a friend, without questioning why they were being asked to divulge sensitive information.

Tagged is a legit site, they have not been cited as causing any harm or attack. I am not confused that being Tagged somehow equals being Attacked. However, ploys and manipulations used by those who want to misuse your trust, regardless of physical harm or lack thereof, are the same. Your responses to their tactics can show you where the cracks in you armor may lie. Who of you are willing are you to give out too-personal information to someone who claims to represent someone you may know? From the "tags" I've gotten, it's too many.

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