Those of you who read my last post know that I’ve been having some odd experiences with Facebook as of late. Wave after wave of my real-world friends have been ‘friending’ me at Facebook, despite the fact that I do not now have, nor have I ever had, a Facebook page. At first this was interesting, then it moved to comical, eventually graduating into the surreal.
Last night, though, it took a turn into the disturbing.
Like most people, I have multiple email accounts. Of the accounts I have, I use two extensively. I separate these two into my ‘personal’ account and my ‘professional’ account, although there is a certain amount of overlap. My first Facebook invite came to my ‘personal’ email – years ago – from my friend Jackie. I declined and never thought much about it. Later, I received another Facebook invite, also from a friend and also through my ‘personal’ email. Because I had once received an invitation from Jackie, this new invite reminded me of the fact that Jackie had done so. And this has been the way of it. Each successive Facebook invitation I receive includes mention of all Facebook invitations gone before. This makes perfect sense to me.
Last night, though, I received a new Facebook invitation. This one was different than the others – for one thing, it arrived in my ‘professional’ email, a first for Facebook invitations. Another oddity is that this was from someone I’ve never heard of. The invitation mentioned five other Facebookites, suggesting that I might also like to peruse their pages. One of these five was yet another person of whom I have never heard. The other four are all people I know.
And this is where it gets disturbing. While I know all four of those people, they do not know each other. In fact, they only have two things in common: they all have a Facebook page, and they’re all listed in my contacts. This means that someone is comparing my contact list to Facebook membership. To make matters worse, this email account is my Gmail account.
Before you start making suggestions, allow me to answer some concerns. There is no virus or trojan or worm or malware of any kind involved here. I run a very tight ship, and I know that my system is clean. Also, I don’t use any sort of Gmail-pimping browser extensions, simply because I feel that they entail unacceptable security risks.
So the logical conclusion is that someone is giving Facebook access to my contacts, as well as the freedom to peruse them at will. And since this is my Gmail account, I think we all know where to point our fingers.
Shall we talk about privacy yet again?