A Facebook application that lets you discover and track bands has seen some rapid growth in the past 24 hours and we think we know why. Apparently the application, called pickRset, is sending out notifications to its users’ Facebook friends with an invite to join a “fan page.”
This seems harmless enough, yet clicking on the invite automatically redirects to the “Allow Access” page for the pickRset application, without providing any other details about the app, and certainly not redirecting to a Facebook fan page. According to a tip we received from optionshiftk, clicking the “Allow” button on the app’s “Allow Access” page will in turn send out fan page invites to all their friends as well.
The problem with this type of message is that it’s misleading and uses deceitful trickery to gain viral growth amongst trusted Facebook friends. It’s one thing to willingly send an invite to a friend for an app you enjoy on Facebook. It’s another thing to have messages being sent out unknowingly to friends in a very misleading manner, especially when the notifications section of Facebook is involved.
I checked out the application with a rarely-used Facebook account, and sent an invite to a single friend, asking them to be on the lookout for a fan page invite. They never received the invite, which could indicate that pickRset has stopped sending the deceiving notifications out to users’ friends. I then noticed that the pickRset developers have added a message on the application’s homepage alerting users to the notifications errors that have taken place in the last day or so. The message reads:
“So it appears that notifications are going crazy for the pickRset Facebook application. First out sorry. We are trying to figure this out. We have had the application up and running for a while now and then all of a sudden the notifications kicked in within the last 24 hours.”
I’ve reached out to the pickRset team to better understand what could have suddenly happened with the notifications options for this Facebook app, but I haven’t received a response yet. From the looks of it, the spammy and misleading issue here could have been an honest mistake. What’s unclear is what type of fan page pickRset was referring to in its malicious invites. The application itself has a “fans” section for each artist it features, and this could be the fan page the pickRset invites were meant for. Regardless of the intention, however, using any sort of misleading content in an application invite is never a good idea and makes progress slower and more difficult for trustworthy applications.