PicDoodle virus shows Facebook’s true colors

Facebook continues to claim that they respect users’ privacy and discourage bad behavior in third-party applications.

Well, that must depend on how much they’re paid, or who you know, or some other random factors, because the PicDoodle app exhibits all the worst behaviors of an evil, evil virus, and yet Facebook continues to serve it up to users and defend the application.

The lame Silicon Alley Insider (which I refuse to link to here – look it up if you really need to see their awful reporting) attributes the following quote to Facebook:

“The PicDoodle application was tagging the maximum allotment of a user’s friend in each saved photo… This ran counter to user expectations…”

That statement is just infuriating. It is far beyond misleading and suggests that there’s a lot more to this story. There’s got to be something going on behind the scenes at Facebook for them to spew such total BS.

If PicDoodle messed around with tagging people (that I didn’t tag) in a “saved photo” that would be bad enough.  But what it actually does isn’t even on the same planet.  When one “Allows” (installs) the app, before they take any action at all, PicDoodle does it’s dirty work, all in the background. PicDoodle creates a Photo album and sticks a fake blank “photo” in it. It then tags people (your friends) who are not in that “blank” photo as being in that photo.

This causes all your friends to receive notifications from the Photos app (not from PicDoodle) saying they were tagged in a photo by you.  When they click to see what photo you tagged them in, instead of viewing a photo, they see a link to the PicDoodle app that suggests they need to click it to continue.  Since there is nothing else to see besides that link (because the actual photo is “blank”), the user clicks the link, hoping to finally see the photo that you tagged them in.

They get the usual “Allow” prompt to install the PicDoodle app, and still wanting to finally see the photo in which they appear, they click it.  And viola, the process starts all over again for that user.  And of course they never get to the “Photo” containing them – because there isn’t one.

How Facebook can declare this is just a “glitch” is beyond me.  PicDoodle was very obviously designed to perform these evil tasks to spread itself, even conning Facebook’s own “Photos” app into doing its bidding.

The Insider story concludes with:

Meanwhile, rumors on Twitter that PicDoodle is a virus or phishing scheme appear to be inaccurate.

So who are these guys blowing to get this kind of white-wash?

7 comments for “PicDoodle virus shows Facebook’s true colors

  1. Great post. I think this is the first honest assessment I’ve seen of PicDoodle.
    Here’s a blog post I just did citing this one:

  2. PicDoodle scammed me. I enjoyed playing with the pictures and gaVe them money when my first tHree “complementary” photos were done, but they never kept their bargain and credited my account. Now they will not return my calls or emails. Shame on you Picdoodle, and shame on me for being scammed!

  3. Inktomi, your statement “It is your choice if you use the application” is not exactly true – if it were I’d have less of an issue here. Many people never “used” the PicDoodle app in any conventional sense of the term, and yet the app blasted all their friends with spam. Simply by clicking “allow” in an attempt to see where my friend tagged me, without taking any explicit action using PicDoodle, and without instructing PicDoodle to do anything, PicDoodle created a Photo album and put a fake blank “photo” in it. It then tagged all my friends as being in that photo, even though of course none of them were in the “blank” photo – all in attempt to get my friends to make the same mistake I made, trying to see where I tagged them.

    As for Picdoodle trying to sue people, that would be interesting. First, it would expose who they really are, since they seem to want to stay anonymous. And second, I’d expect they’d have one helluva class action suit on their hands.

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