This morning I’ve received at least 10 emails from people about misleading notifications that they received from friends suggesting that their friends “faced some errors” while viewing a user’s profile. The notifications are highly misleading and as expected highly viral. Within hours, hundreds if not thousands of users had registered for the “Error Check System” application to see what was wrong with their profile.
Before the application had a chance to get completely out of control, Facebook shut it down. (See update) Some users were suggesting that this application was “spyware” but there is nothing to suggest this is the case. It was simply an aggressive developer that was trying to misuse the Facebook platform for their own gain. Clicking “Add Application” on Facebook doesn’t actually install or download anything on your personal computer although a developer could theoretically prompt you to download something.
One interesting lesson from this malevolent application is that notifications are still extremely effective at getting a user’s attention. Just last night I spoke with my mom who asked me about a notification from one of the applications I was using. The interesting thing is that I don’t need to approve a notification being sent to my friends on behalf of me.
Many developers are using this feature to drive a large number of new installations. Is it a bad practice? Definitely not, I’d be doing the same if I was a developer. The only problem is that there is no efficient way for monitoring what notifications are being sent by applications.
Fortunately this time around Facebook caught the application early on and it was effectively shut down.
I just visited Facebook and instantly had three notifications from the application which still appears to be active. I’ve tested out the offending application and it appears that this application is one that is viral for the sake of being viral. It posts a phony image which says that you have an error in the process “PR:147″ and you must invite your friends. It then prompts you to invite your friends in order to check their profile.
None of the stated information is accurate and it’s just a phony application to attract users and temporarily attract thousands if not millions of users and hope that some of them click on the ads. It’s an interesting strategy but there’s no doubt Facebook will shut this down in a short amount of time. Thankfully this application doesn’t harm your computer but it will annoy the hell out of your friends with the numerous notifications it sends!
Error Check System Notifications Screenshot
Error Check System Click Thru Screenshot
Error Check System Screenshot
Error Check System Screenshot 2
Error Check System Yahoo Answers Posting