in Follow-Up, Meddling, Politics, X-Geek

Why Romney Facebook hacks aren’t from Facebook mobile

With Facebook’s speculation to Mother Jones that hundreds of its users have liked Mitt Romney’s Facebook page mistakenly through their mobile application, I decided to see just what happens when one likes a Facebook ad from the Facebook mobile app. This turned out to be much more difficult than it first seemed because Android apparently has no built-in screenshot capability. I spent over an hour installing and figuring out the Android SDK on my PC before I finally got to the point of taking screenshots.

Yes, it’s a lot of work but, dammit, I need to know.

I fired up the Facebook mobile app on my LG Optimus V phone running Android 2.2.2. Near the top of my news feed was an ad for Samsung (names blurred to protect the guilty!):

Holding my breath, I clicked on the Like button:

There we go. Now I should be listed as liking that page.

I head over to Facebook on my laptop and this is what I see on my Facebook wall:

Okay, there’s no doubt about me liking Samsung. It’s hard to miss the big, fat notice on my timeline!

Let’s surf over to the Samsung Facebook page to see if it’s in agreement:

Sure enough, I’m listed there, too.

Then I thought it smart to check my Facebook Activity Log which, as you’ll recall, tracks everything that happens on Facebook. Clicking on my Activity Log button brought me this:

Well, what do you know? I clicked to like a Facebook mobile ad and Facebook recorded that like everywhere it should have! And why wouldn’t it? That’s how Facebook gets paid! You’re damn straight the company is going to keep close track of the ads it sells on its service. Facebook doesn’t give a shit about how many cat pictures you post on your wall but it will track to the most minute detail what advertisements go with those pictures! That’s its business.

So to recap, in the opinion of Facebook’s “crack” security team, I probably clicked on a link in Facebook’s mobile app. In spite of the fact that I’ve been on the Internet for 20 years and have blogged nearly every day for ten straight years, piling up 5,759 posts, Facebook thinks I’m a social media moron. Riiiiiiight.

This whole issue puts Facebook in a no-win situation. Either they blame it on their mobile app (and imply that it’s shitty), they blame it on their users (and imply that they’re idiots), or they own up to widespread fraud occurring on their service. My guess is that the company is hoping the whole thing is going to blow over.

I still don’t know what all’s going on, but I do know this: after tonight’s experiment I can completely rule out mobile Facebook being the cause.

It. Could. Not. Happen.