Stalking someone? There's a Facebook app for that!
Do you want to stalk someone who isn't your friend on Facebook? As Apple would say, there's an app for that.
Stalkbook is an app created by developer and Massachussetts Institute of Technology graduate Oliver Yeh, although it has not been released online.
"with Facebook API ... I can have access to (a friend's) information. And what Stalkbook does is it goes through all of a user’s information and all of the friends of the user’s information and stores a cache copy on the website, so that when somebody else visits Stalkbook, they now have access to a cache version of Facebook’s data, even though they don’t have permission to access Trevor’s information," he said in an interview with IEEE.org.
Although he has not released his app, Yeh has set up an online demo to demonstrate the principle behind Stalkbook.
The app "exploits" other Facebook apps that a victim's friends have signed up for, such as Farmville - such apps seek access to all the information of the one who signed up for them.
Yeh said that when a person signs on to the app, not only does he or she reveal his or her own information but he or she also compromises all of his or her friends’ information too.
"So for example, if I sign on to the site, then my friend Trevor would also be signed on to the site because I’m friends with Trevor. And because with my credentials, I can see Trevor’s information. Now, everyone on the Internet can also see Trevor’s information by using my credentials. And as more people sign up to Stalkbook, you get this network effect, in which you only need perhaps 10 percent of Facebook to join to compromise 80 to 90 percent of Facebook," he said.
On the other hand, Yeh created another app, Statsbook, where people sign on to it, and they can get "cool and interesting analytics" about their Facebook data.
The app features a map of where one's Facebook friends are located, and measures “friend strength” or the amount of interactions one's friends have with each other.
"You can see how your friends are clustered: These are my college friends, and these are my high school friends, and these are my friends and family. And you can see your college friends mostly interact with each other, and you can see a strong clustering of your friends by their interactions with each other," he said.
He reiterated he did not want to access private messages, and to only access the public posts and the comments and the likes instead.
Statsbook also has a feature called “friends activate over time" where Yeh collects all post information such as likes, photo tags, and status updates, and graph or relate one's Facebook activity over time.
"Basically, whatever you post on Facebook, you should just assume that the public can see it, because even though Facebook tries to put in protections and permissions and privacy controls, there’s really no way to guarantee that only your friends can see your data. Like even if your friend is just sitting in the dorm room and somebody else crosses the computer, then he has access to your information," Yeh said.
On the other hand, Yeh admitted malicious developers can potentially set up Statsbook "so that the whole world sees" one's information.
Violation of Facebook terms
A separate article on CNET said Stalkbook may go against Facebook's terms of service, where point No. 5 states: "You will not solicit login information or access an account belonging to someone else."
"Busted. If you login to a third-party app or Web site that leverages Facebook, only you can view your friends' data. Yeh, or anyone else for that matter, is not allowed to hoard your credentials so that others can see your friends' information and photos," CNET said. — TJD, GMA News
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