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Art&Seek on Facebook: What Was Up With that iPhone Spam?

by Anne Bothwell 19 Nov 2010 1:57 PM

Were you frustrated by spam on Art&Seek’s Facebook page this week? Well, our apologies, but come on back, because the problem’s solved. Here’s what happened and how it got fixed.


Those of you who follow Art&Seek on Facebook know that we had a bit of a challenge this week. Our page was overrun by spammers who found a security hole in Facebook’s infrastructure. The very good news: the problem is solved! So come on back.

Many folks suggested that we change our passwords, but unfortunately, it wasn’t quite that simple.

Alan Melson, KERA’s interactive director, spent a good chunk of his week on the issue. Here’s how our hero explains the problem:

Basically, spammers were able to exploit the Facebook Mobile feature that allows individuals and page owners to update their status via e-mail.  You can read more about that vulnerability here:  Normally, this can be solved at least temporarily by updating Facebook Mobile settings to “refresh” this unique e-mail address, thus denying the spammers their back-door access.  However, after reporting the breach via Facebook’s online security form, Art&Seek was locked out from administering our page for nearly 48 hours.

This was distressing (ahem, understatement). Everyone at Art&Seek, KERA/KXT, and public broadcasting in general, believes it’s very important to maintain the safe, sane environment you’ve come to expect from us, on radio, television or the Web.

So we’re all quite grateful to Andy Carvin, NPR’s social media guru, who connected us – as a member station – with the right people at Facebook to get the issue resolved.

And most especially,  at Art&Seek we appreciate you for alerting us to the problem and for hanging with us while we worked to fix things up.