Facebook has gotten pretty spammy over the years, nearly as junked up as Twitter. I can’t stand sifting through messages and alerts anymore, and it seems Facebook only makes things worse with every turn, constantly updating our profiles, message systems, etc. But one thing that’s particularly harmful to Facebook users is a malicious link, readily spread through one’s social graph, posting across profile walls and seared into distributed messages. With apps and updates driving social interaction on our beloved network, spammers find millions of willing victims on Facebook every day.
Last week’s viral spread of fake Osama bin Laden death photos is a prime example of how spammers of ill repute can misdirect web activity, luring you to click on a link that’s rather irresistible. And as Facebook is confronted by growing public and regulatory concern over its privacy practices, it’s imperative that the social networking giant continue to address these problems internally, incorporating certain features and safeguards within its virtual walls. That’s where WOT comes in.
WOT (Web of Trust) has teamed up with Facebook to help users better navigate their click activity within the social network. The crowd-sourced website reputation rating service is extending its knowledge to Facebook’s 500 million users, protecting them against dubious web links. When you click a link that leads to a page rated poorly in WOT’s system, Facebook issues a warning message, diverting you away from malicious links, viruses, fraudulent services and other scams.
The incorporation of WOT’s system increases Facebook’s own ability to protect its users, which is something Facebook will have to continually take more control over. If you come across a site with a poor rating, you can learn more about it, or continue on to the site. With over 20 million contributors, the Finland-based WOT has aggregated a great database of reputation information for the web.
“Facebook cares deeply about preserving user trust and providing users with the best tools to enjoy a safe experience online. We are excited about our partnership with Web of Trust–they share similar goals and approaches in giving users better control of their online experience, “ says Jake Brill, Manager Site Integrity for Facebook.
While it’s an important step for Facebook, the new team-up is also a great opportunity for WOT. The company has been growing over the past few years, evolving with the web and seeking the best fit for its services. With the social web driving interactive sharing trends, WOT’s been able to develop its niche, always looking for the optimal interfacing options for contributors and cautious web surfers.
WOT has a dedicated website as well as a browser add-on that stays with you as you navigate the web, giving you a beacon of context with each click. WOT’s also created a tool that adds reputation icons to Google search results, email links, and even shortened URLs on Twitter. Beyond its avid watchdog users, WOT supplements its crowd-sourced data with third party information from researchers, advocates and more. The reliability of WOT’s data is of most importance, and has been the starting point for everything else WOT has developed since launching a few years back. We spoke with WOT earlier this year on its latest use of big data, specifically driven to make social networks safer. See here for the entire interview.