Can you force someone to be your Facebook friend?

A Brazilian security expert tells a conference that he can force anyone to be his Facebook friend within 24 hours. Should we be worried?

Some people are desperate to have friends.

Or, rather, they're desperate to feel as if they have friends. They therefore spend endless and painful hours on Facebook trawling, staring, begging, and waiting.

I find that a bottle of wine, a home-cooked spaghetti bolognese, and a credit card normally do the trick, but too many seem to discount such apparently painless methods.

For them, Brazilian security expert Nelson Novaes Neto has another answer: the foolproof, but perhaps somewhat dubious, route to guaranteed Facebook friendship.

Ars Technica was friendly enough to report that Neto is a man confident of his friending skills. Even when the object of his friendship neither knows him nor cares.

Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

He reportedly demonstrated his skills by securing the Facebook friendship of someone he called "SecGirl"-- who happens to be a Web security queen.

Neto said the first touchy-feely step toward his goal was to create a fake Facebook account. I know that this is supposed to be impossible. Alas, it appears not. The name on the account was one of his target's managers.

Next Neto says he did something frightfully modern. He sent out 432 friend requests. Of those, 24 were accepted within one hour.

You see how needy we all are? But here's how careless: 96 percent of those people were already a Facebook friend of that person. This, remember, was a mere clone. No one seemed to care.

Though clearly already confident of conquest, Neto wafted onto LinkedIn and made a few fake connections there.

Before lo could even introduce itself to behold, SecGirl accepted his Facebook friend request. The whole subterfuge took seven hours.

Please think of all the forlorn and resourceful 15-year-olds who might have already tried such a maneuver. Neto, however, explained subsequently to UOL Noticias that people just don't bother checking whether the friend request is from the real person or not.

They are so used to accepting requests and, some might say, they are so desperate to have more unreal friends.

Neto also pointed out that Facebook's "Three Trusted Friends" feature, which allows you to get help with password recovery, makes things even easier for the subterfuger.

Facebook, for its part, naturally told Ars Technica that Neto's actions were a clear breach of its policies.

But Facebook doesn't always employ the most alert police officers, seeming to be more concerned with the appearance of breasts than the appearance of something more threatening--such as, say, Holocaust denial groups .

The question is less whether Neto has revealed something that might be copied, but whether there is quite a bit of activity such as the sort he demonstrated already going on.

 

ARTICLE DISCUSSION

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

Hot on CNET

CNET's giving away a 3D printer

Enter for a chance to win* the MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer and all the supplies you need to get started.