As an Internet experiment, a man named Joe Veix decided to give away all of the login information to an open Facebook profile. In a time when Facebook cracks down on profiles that don’t identify by “real names,” how would the site react to a completely fake profile under the control of hordes of online strangers? The answer: surprisingly (and disturbingly) well.
Over the course of the weekend after Veix gave away the info, the profile changed rapidly, switching out personal information, photos and location (moving from New Mexico to Brooklyn to Bali and more). At one point the profile also took the form of a social media representative for Taco Bell and trolled customers complaining about the restaurant. In total, there were 135 logins to the page from all over the world, including France, Sweden, Colombia and the United Arab Emirates.
But most surprisingly, Veix said the profile had not yet been flagged as spam. How could that possibly be? He has a theory, and it’s a troubling one for how the social media giant operates. By friending, liking and sharing so many things, the spammy page might just be the ideal Facebook user.
“[The social network] favored the aggressive usage, and the account spread like a kind of virus, perfectly designed to take advantage of how Facebook operate,” Veix said.
Of course, what that means is Facebook favors a personless spambot more than a real person simply trying to identify by a different name. It’s a funny experiment, but that conclusion is certainly no laughing matter.