Anil Dash: Facebook attacks the open Web, becomes a badware site

Anil Dash examines Facebook's latest navigational practices, which go beyond making a walled garden of its own content and begin to attack the open Web, including websites that incorporate Facebook's technology. Dash concludes that Facebook now meets the formal definition of a "badware" site -- the sites that generate those "Warning! This site may harm your computer" interstitial pages when you visit them -- and calls on browser vendors and Google to start displaying these warnings when users visit Facebook.

Now, we've shown that Facebook promotes captive content on its network ahead of content on the web, prohibits users from bringing open content into their network, warns users not to visit web content, and places obstacles in front of visits to web sites even if they've embraced Facebook's technologies and registered in Facebook's centralized database of sites on the web...

I believe [StopBadware's malware definition] description clearly describes Facebook's behavior, and strongly urge Stop Badware partners such as Google (whose Safe Browsing service is also used by Mozilla and Apple), as well as Microsoft's similar SmartScreen filter, to warn web users when visiting Facebook. Given that Facebook is consistently misleading users about the nature of web links that they visit and placing barriers to web sites being able to be visited through ordinary web links on their network, this seems an appropriate and necessary remedy for their behavior.

Facebook is gaslighting the web. We can fix it. (via O'Reilly Radar)


    1. For the love of God stop using Facebook. I feel like I’m Diogenes rolling his barrel around when I tell people this.

      Well, if you’re naked, masturbating and screaming insults, no wonder nobody listens.

    2. Yes!  

      Facebook is starting to feel like the movie The Haunting- we were attracted by curiosity and the need to interact, but the growing number of creepy phenomena makes me doubt I’ll stay the night as originally intended. I’d rather risk getting run over by another user’s car in an attempt to crash the gates.

      1. Who says there needs to be an alternative? Before FB I was able to keep up with all my friends and family, np. Telephone, email, family photos on a webpage (the URL for which I would read to them, over the phone)…

  1. Okay. Facebook is the devil, it’s true. But I don’t think it’s necessary for Chrome to warn me every time I visit the site. I agree that buzz (pardon the pun) must be generated about Facebook’s fall to the dark side, but this is just petty. If Chrome does filter Facebook, it will just make people stop using Chrome. Again, I agree that Facebook is evil. But it’s here to stay. Just watch your ass and Facebook can’t hurt you.

  2. I am Facebook free since 2009! Websites that try to coerce me into using FB get a personal communication from me. These letters have netted me coupons, discounts, free stuff from several sites (including a $275 discount from Timbuk2). Down with FB and up with companies ACTUALLY CONNECTING with their customers.

      1. Basically, something along the lines of ‘I don’t use FB, and I don’t like it being hijacked for your advertising campaign. If you want me as a customer, connect with me directly. I’m not ‘liking’ you to up your numbers’. Whatever, stuff like that. I just tell them how I feel about it.

      1. Yeah. Damn. I did that, didn’t I? It was unintentional, I swear. I just wanted to use it as an example.

  3. I bailed on facebook when it created a page for my company (that thing it does when an inexperienced user clicks one of its poorly worded search options) then refused to take it down when asked. And I’ll dump any app, website, or store that tries to “Make sharing easier” by integrating my data with facebook.

  4. Facebook is to the rest of the internet as a military junta is the rest of a (south american?) country.  It is a bloc within a larger whole, that seeks to duplicate all of the functions demonstrated by that larger totality with the eventual aim of supplanting them, and using the larger networks purely as supply side.  It is an internet within an internet, and as such demonstrates itself as an already pre-existing “firewall”.   The eventual aim of Facebook would be to have every significant internet organ (utube, twit-er, etc.)  appended to itself, after that it would limit movement along its borders much in the same way any fascist or totalitarian country would.

  5. Ever since Google foolishly lobotomized Google Reader by killing the “share” function, I’ve been spending more time on other social platforms– Facebook included.  Which, first off, shame on you Google for driving me into the arms of Facebook!  Secondly, & more to the point– maybe we’re seeing an end to the days of the massive social website gated community?  I know I’m a hopeless romantics, but maybe the next round of internet social life will be between networks of blogs & individual sites?  Tumblr is sort of heading in this direction– though Tumblr is like an unholy union of a bad blog & a bad feed reader, if you ask me.

      1. …is a terrible content sharing platform? Is that what you were going to say? Because it certainly doesn’t work as a way of circulating content. I dump some stuff there because now that Google Reader is broken that is where the link dumps it, but it is a social media platform, not a content reading or content sharing platform. Like, I could call people on the telephone & read URLs to them that I think they should go to, too…but that would be stupid, because the telephone isn’t a good content resharing medium. Same thing.

  6. Someone needs to write a Firefox plugin that will block all Facebook content unless explicitly disabled. I never want to load anything from Facebook, unless I log into Facebook. I don’t want Facebook widgets from other sites or Facebook cookies, because I know they track this stuff and it has really crossed the line with me. At this point, every day or two, I am going into Firefox to delete Facebook cookies – and I do not ever log into Facebook using this browser. WTF.

    In short, someone please create a Firefox plugin that works like AdBlock that blocks all Facebook content.

    1. You can configure the lastest version of AdBlock Plus to block a domain unless you’re actually on that domain.  Go to some site with a Facebook connection, click on the ABP logo. -> Blockable items. Search for “facebook” -> right click. Select the second option from the bottom (“^”) then click on “Advanced View” and check off “Third-party only” on the right.

      Do the same with “” and “”

      Now none of the iframes, scripts, or images from Facebook should only load when you’re on FB’s site.

      1. Thanks for this information. I’ve already got blocked at the router level, but obviously I still need to add those other two. I stopped using Facebook back, so I’m quite happy to have absolutely no Facebook connections possible from my home network.

    2. An FF add-on to disable FB sharing buttons already exists. It’s called ShareMeNot. It also blocks Google, Twitter, and other sharing buttons (since these often share your activity, even if you don’t click them).

  7. Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard
    Zuck: Just ask.  I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
    [Redacted Friend’s Name]: What? How’d you manage that one?
    Zuck: People just submitted it.  I don’t know why. They “trust me”
    Zuck: Dumb fucks.

  8. AOL already lost this war to the web. It’s game over: there won’t be a competitor. Facebook—being a web service—can’t “win” this “war”.
    There are useful, tasty nuggets in her research & theories, but the frame she’s hanging this on makes it hard to read on.

  9. Oh god. Why am I even surprised anymore. Fine, whatever. Change it, bluh, bluh, bluh. Nothing new in that. I no longer take facebook seriously, I have other websites for that.

  10. >Someone needs to write a Firefox plugin that will
    >block all Facebook content unless explicitly disabled.

    The ‘Ghostery’ plugin does something like that, and not just for FB.

    1. I’d like to block all “FatB’strd log-in to reply” sites like BI and Clusterf*k just for sport.

  11. I hate to sound like someone’s granddad but someone please make a new, simple, not evil social networking / blog site like we used to have back in the oughts.

  12.     fbcdn.netAdd that to your hosts file, people. Problem solved.

  13. I appreciate the point to Ghostery and the way to make AdBlock specifically block Facebook content, that’s helpful. That said, I still want someone to write an anti-FB browser plugin, because I think it would get a lot of attention on this issue. Also, the easier it is, the more non-tech people will be able to install it. 

  14. I’m not going to comment on the frothing in this comment thread, because I’m not sure there’s any value in doing so. However, you may find the first comment by lbrandy at of interest. 

    1. Well I guess they could do a google search style warning… “Facebook, did you mean Arse-Magazine?”

  15. I think it’s great idea, only in case of Facebook they need to come up with a new warning: “This site may harm your sanity!”

  16. One of the best ways to disable security is with a false-positive denial-of-service attack: Generate so many alerts that users begin to ignore them completely. Creating warnings for a popular site like facebook on the basis of policy rather than actual malware would rapidly accomplish this. All this proposal accomplishes is to identify Anil Dash as a threat, the kind of useful idiot who puts ideological purity over the prevention of crime.

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