It appeared in my Twitter stream as a note from a friend, seductively beckoning:
“Want to know whos stalking you on twitter!?: Click here, stupid.”
Only, of course, it didn’t say “Click here, stupid.” Because I wouldn’t fall for that. Instead, it linked to a site called Twitviewer, promising to show you the last 200 people who had looked at your Twitter profile.
Now, the missing apostrophe in “whos” should have been RED FLAG #1 that this was not a well-run business model.
But, no, I blithely clicked on.
Then, ignored RED FLAG #2 when the site said “enter twitter ID and password.”
Now, some legitimate applications need that information. Tweetie, Tweetdeck, Tweepular. But they also explain to you why they need your password, what they will do with it, how they will store it, etc.
This “stalker” site had none of that. What it did have? The appeal to everyone’s inner middle-schooler. The “I know who likes you,” pitch. So I entered my information, and ignored RED FLAG #3 – No disclaimer about how they protect your information.
After all, it was worth the risk to see who was stalking me. Maybe @JohnMayer? Maybe @Oprah? Maybe @BarackObama? Who could want to see what I was up to on Twitter?
Of course, the answer was 200 boob-flashing wanna-be porn stars that I could add to my “following” list with just one click.
Sigh. I’m such a moron sometimes.
Of course, when I logged back into my Twitter account, I learned to no surprise that the Twitviewer site had used my provided password to tweet out my suggestion that all my friends visit its site, too. Awesome.
So if you went there, stop reading this post about my stupidity and go change your Twitter password before you find yourself unwittingly sending out spam all the live-long day. I’m sorry. If you didn’t go there, write down the three red flags I should have seen that would have saved me a lot of headaches today.
- If they can’t even spell their marketing pitch, they may not be concerned with other details. Like ethics. Or your privacy.
- If they ask for your password, be darn sure you know why they want it.