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This article was published on June 26, 2010

Facebook Slamming The Back Door On Spammers?

Facebook Slamming The Back Door On Spammers?
Martin SFP Bryant
Story by

Martin SFP Bryant


Martin Bryant is founder of Big Revolution, where he helps tech companies refine their proposition and positioning, and develops high-qualit Martin Bryant is founder of Big Revolution, where he helps tech companies refine their proposition and positioning, and develops high-quality, compelling content for them. He previously served in several roles at TNW, including Editor-in-Chief. He left the company in April 2016 for pastures new.

It appears Facebook is taking action to shut down ‘back door’ methods used by spammers to take advantage of the social network.

Face Wizard, a piece of software designed to manage a large number of Facebook profiles, was shut down at some point over the past two days. Its website simply reads “This item is no longer for sale”, while users of the service are reporting on a black hat SEO forum that the software has stopped working. Rumours point to Facebook issuing a Cease and Desist order against the software’s developer.

A review of Face Wizard from March this year describes it as the ideal tool for updating “hundreds” of Facebook accounts..

“Face Wizard is a Facebook bot that stimulates a real human being. This tool allows you to build up your fake Facebook user accounts and then go market your idea with status updates and wall post.

Face Wizard can scrape through a fan page and gather tons of Facebook User ID’s. You can then send them a friend request with a click a button. This way if you are in a Sports Fan Page, you receive thousands of highly targeted prospects.”

This site, which may be a mirror of the now non-functioning FaceWizard.com, lists the software’s features in more detail. These include the ability to update the status of many accounts without having to login to each individually and to remotely comment on Page posts. The site notes: “In some niches such as Farmville etc simply posting ‘add me’ on a fans page status update can gain you thousands of new friends in a matter of hours.” The software even supported use of proxy IP numbers to help keep under Facebook’s radar. In short, Face Wizard, which sold for $249, was a Facebook spammer’s dream.

So, has Facebook blocked Face Wizard? The apparent sudden disappearance of the service would lead us to believe so. It follows a similarly sudden blocking earlier this week of a small piece of Javascript that allowed Facebook users to invite all their friends to a Group or Event, something popular with spammers but that Facebook’s design currently doesn’t allow.

When you’re top dog in the social network market, you’re also the biggest target for spam. TechCrunch published a guest post last year which exposed some of the ways marketers get around Facebook’s anti-spam controls. Facebook has been fighting back via a number of means including the ability to report friend requests from people you don’t know and even through lawsuits against significant spammers.

We have had a query lodged with Facebook since Thursday over whether the blocking of the Javascript code was a deliberate security measure on their part. We will let you know if we hear back from them with their side of the story on both that and the Face Wizard shutdown.

UPDATE: Facebook haven’t sent us a comment on FaceWizard, however they did send us the following regarding the Javascript block:

“We’re always working to reduce spam, and we invest heavily in systems to protect our users from annoying or unwanted contacts.  Groups and Pages that encourage people to use javascript to invite all of their friends at once violate our policies for spam, and we remove them when they’re reported to us or detected by our systems.  We’re also testing measures to proactively block invitations that are sent in this way.”

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