Social Media Minute: Facebook Accounts for Sale and Students' Social Addiction

4 minute read
Jason Harris avatar

Social media moves so fast, it's hard to keep up. Here are the week's top stories in scan-friendly format:

  • 1.5 Million Facebook IDs For Sale
  • Facebook Embracing Local Businesses
  • Surprise! Students Are Addicted To Social Media
  • FTC May Look Into Social Networking Regulations

1.5 Million Facebook IDs For Sale

A hacker has obtained a large number of Facebook accounts and is trying to sell them on the black market. According to the Verisign IDefence group, about one and half million accounts might be up for sale on hacker forums by a hacker named Kirllos.

There is no indication whether the accounts or their offering are legitimate, but if they are true accounts that have been compromised, about one out of every 300 Facebook accounts is in jeopardy. The hacker is asking between US$ 25-$45 per 1000 accounts, based on the amount of contacts for each Facebook account.

It is not uncommon for Facebook accounts to be sold on the hacker market. This development should reinforce the importance of having a strong password on all your online accounts. Have you ever had an important online account compromised? If so, how did it turn out?

Facebook Embracing Local Businesses

Google has long been trying to make local business search and discovery a part of their business. With the new Google Places program with accompanying barcodes for mobile phone use, Google is trying to become a major point of reference for embracing businesses on the web.

Facebook is making a move as well. This week the social networking giant sent out stickers to be placed in the storefront or near the cash register that encourage patrons to '"like" the business on Facebook. Facebook is reporting a 20% or greater increase in online connections for business who actively promote their pages on Facebook.

Facebook's effort includes a shortcode to send a quick text message to 'Like' the business, which is much easier for most folks than scanning a QR barcode as with the Google offering. Advantage: Facebook.

Between Facebook, Google Places, Foursquare and other online networking sites, businesses have many choices when trying to further engage their customers in the online space.

Learning Opportunities

Surprise! Students Are Addicted To Social Media

The University Of Maryland conducted a study to gauge the level of addiction that students have to social media, mobile phones and other devices. The study asked students to spend 24 hours without the use of connected devices and the results confirmed what readers might expect.

It turns out students are at a loss without these outlets for social connection. One student reported being "in withdrawal, frantically craving, very anxious...". Some students said to do without Facebook or computers was tolerable, but the inability to send text messages via a mobile phone was much harder.

The study is far from a conclusive picture, but it provides some interesting perspective into campus life for today's college students. Would you feel completely lost without social networking and your mobile phone? How would you fill your time? Personally speaking, it's nice to get completely offline for periods of a day or so.

FTC May Look Into Social Networking Regulation

Last week, Facebook announced their Open Graph technology which will usher in a new way of sharing information with other websites that show social activity. For example, Pandora and Facebook can track your music habits in all-new ways. Also, Yelp reviews, Microsoft documents and other partners will use social information in a new, interconnected way.

Yes Facebook grants users the ability to control how information is shared and utilized, but the options are often confusing and vague. To address this new era of social sharing, a group of US Senators are asking the Federal Trade Commission to evaluate the social sharing capabilities.

While government regulation may be heavy handed and crafted in an authoritarian manner, some third party group needs to ensure that all this new sharing happens in way that users know how their information is being used and syndicated.