Petition Wants To End Facebook Chat Hijackings

A petition asks Facebook to restrict developer access to chat on the site, in order to end the rise in hijackings by spammers.

A petition asks Facebook to restrict developer access to chat on the site, in order to end the rise in hijackings by spammers.

We really dig this petition, and hope Facebook can require compliance with a set of rules in order for developers to access chat.

Completely blocking access to chat would hamstring the half dozen or so videoconferencing applications that have barely gotten off the ground on Facebook. A full blockage would also bring to a halt the much-anticipated integration of Skype, killing off any hope for phone conversations over Facebook.

Perhaps some security layer could get added on to the application programming interface for chat, and then developers would have to sign an agreement not to spam via chatting in order to access the new API.

When I chatted on the phone with the petition’s creator, Facecrooks Founder Tim Senft, he agreed with me about the need for a set of rules that developers would have to comply with before getting access to a reworked API for chat. We both hope you’ll click over to his link and add your name: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/nochataccess/

We’ve found the chat hijacking phenomenon especially pernicious to keep track of because, unlike wall post spam, the chatting doesn’t show up in search results on Facebook. That makes it harder for us to confirm whether a particular scam campaign is active. Users are increasingly posting status updates that apologize for the spamming chat popups, and these postings then appear in search results.

Unfortunately, many victims of chat hijackings don’t take the time to check the list of active applications on their profiles with a view toward deleting chatware, a much-needed precaution to prevent the rogue apps from spreading further.

Readers, what do you think Facebook should do to crack down on chat hijackings by spammers?