Who is your friend on Facebook? Bimbots are befriending the best of them.

Henry Copeland of Blogads has found fake people on Facebook. Nothing new there, but he's taken a good look at who the fake person knows, and that's when it gets interesting.

Nicole Bally’s list of Facebook friends includes people like Sean Parker, Arianna Huffington, Dana Milbank, Joichi Ito, Chad Hurley, Chris Anderson, Henry Blodget, James Fallows, Jeffrey Toobin, Camille Paglia, Curtis Sliwa, Jimmy Wales, John Dickerson, Loic Le Meur, Seth Godin, Amanda Congdon, Jim Kramer, Howard Kurtz, Steve Case, Pete Cashmore, Andrew Ross Sorkin, Tim Draper, Nouriel Roubini, Jim Breyer, Sarah Lacy, Vint Cerf, Wes Clark… the list goes on and on.

Are you also exposing your private parts to strangers on Facebook?

It's possible that one or more of the winsome Facebook profiles who these e-savants have friended are robots — bimbots? — who exist only to spy on their influential friends’ private lives.

Way to give the game away Henry. Now all the tech, media and political digital "elite" you mentioned will probably start going through their facebook friends list to see who is really on it, and weed out the iffy bimbots. Props for the word "bimbot" though, love that.

I’ve done more hunting online, but can’t find anything solid about Nicole Bally. Surely if she works in media or advertising in NYC or San Francisco and knows so many famous-for-pixels people, she would show up on LinkedIn or someone’s Flickr photo album.
Do any of you know Nicole Bally? If not, why have so many of you friended her and why are you sharing your private lives with her?

The full list of Nelly's facebook friends here, it's a who's who of everything media and the digerati.

Except Jeff Jarvis. He didn't fall for it.

I'm proud to say that I didn't friend "her" as I didn't know who "she" was. https://bit.ly/j1US15 via @hc

Wise move Jeff.

We already know that U.S. Gov't Software Creates "Fake People" to Spread Message via Social Networking, you didn't really think that all you had to worry about there were people trying to sell you something, did you? When the U.S. government recently offered private intelligence companies contracts to create special software to it help manage a number of "fake" profiles on social media websites, they probably weren't looking to up their retweet numbers. In Wisconsin there's reports that they have a "State emergency team" monitoring protest-related communication and action, on facebook. They're also monitoring the #wiunion hashtag.

And it's not just government you should be concerned about. Private detectives use Facebook frequently to find out more about their targets. It's easy, have a few fake profiles lying about, and find your target. If your target has 200 friends or less, they're probably picky people. Look at their exposed friends list to find one pal that has more than a 1000. There's a person in every crowd who thinks facebook is a game with the objective to collect as many friends as possible. Friend them, and then move onto the target, now you have one friend in common and will probably be accepted. Especially if you're a cute girl.

This is how internet-sleuths found that the police officer who investigated the Swedish Assange rape-case is quite open with her personal views on facebook, for example. "SCANDAL!!!!! hollered Irmeli Krans 15:43 the 25th of August. To put that in context, news on the radio reported that that Eva Finné dropped the famous case Irmeli had filed at 15:02 that same day. And later, in December she's seen complaining about what the lawyers were saying in court down in London, when Harald Ullman the Vice Chairman of the City Police Board suggested she be less vocal about her personal opinions on facebook as "...given your job though, I think that you should integrity enough to refrain from the status bar. I’m serious. Citizens must have confidence that the police are neutral, objective, without bias." No shit Sherlock.

Cops seem to be bad at facebooking in general. Remember the Police Detective who listed his job as "human waste disposal" on Facebook? Or the ones in the Philippines posted naked pictures of themselves on social networking site Facebook while undergoing police training in Bacolod City?

The story here isn't new, many of the millions of facebook "users" are fake accounts, set up with the objective to advertise or sneak a peak at your data. That Henry Copeland found so many media people had fallen for a classic facebook espionage "bimbot" is funny. Can we call her Bot-a-hari? Is she out to advertise something, or watching you? The question isn't "am I being watched?", the question is "who is watching me?".

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

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