Condom ad poses as Facebook friend request from your fetus

Filed Under: Facebook, Featured, Privacy, Social networks, Spam

Condom threatened by a pinA condom company is sending friend requests from unborn sons to Facebook male users, Mashable reported over the weekend.

A public service announcement from my cervix: fetuses do not send out friend requests.

These messages constitute spam: alarming click-candy that prompts Facebook users to click through to a fake profile that sports a link to the rubber-maker's site.

The Brazilian company, Olla Condoms, created fake profiles by taking male user names and gluing a "Jr." onto the end. They then launched friend requests from Male Name Jr. to Male Name Sr.

After the Male Seniors break out in a cold sweat and click through, they'll go limp in relief to discover they've been duped. Then, Olla assuredly hopes, they'll dash off to the pharmacy to stock up on baby-prevention supplies.

Of course, creating fake profiles is expressly prohibited by Facebook Registration and Account Security policy terms, which state that "You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission."

Given the ad campaign's clear breach of policy, Facebook will likely scrub it out of existence before it's seen by many targets. So why did the condom company bother?

As CNET's Chris Matyszczyk writes, this ad campaign was probably cooked up by an ad agency hungry for an award:

Brazilian ad agencies (and those in many other countries) are well known for inventing ad campaigns that never actually run—or perhaps run once in some obscure place and at some obscure time.

The reason for this subterfuge is that once an ad has run (anywhere) they can enter it for awards. Brazilian ad agencies win many awards, but sometimes for campaigns that hardly any Brazilian has ever seen. So it would be interesting to see how many men and boys actually received these friend requests.

Olla has posted a video about the ad campaign, of which they appear to be beamingly proud.

The ad is, indeed, clever and cute.

But honestly, cute doesn't trump aggravation in this scenario. Do we really need another intrusion into our privacy via the Facebook medium?

Spam envelopeAs it is, the past week brought us a Facebook chat worm, a Facebook blonde-chick worm, and a settlement between the FTC and Facebook in response to deceptive privacy practices.

Sorry to be Scroogey. I do hope the campaign manages to prevent a few unwanted pregnancies.

But cute doesn't cut it when it comes to privacy and security. This ad campaign and any similar notions to perpetrate Facebook fraud should be strangled in the crib.

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3 Responses to Condom ad poses as Facebook friend request from your fetus

  1. Michael · 969 days ago

    Frankly, I would just laugh it off. I have had my kids and since the last one I had a vasectomy and since neither of my son's is named after me. I would just hit Delete!

  2. Tim Boddington · 968 days ago

    Day after day Sophos show us why Facebook is so bad, if not actually dangerous, so why do you continue to promote it at the top of your pages?

    I stopped using Facebook more than a year ago because it is just too risky - time and again they have been shown to abuse users' data or provide a base for abusers of all kinds. It needs a massive overhaul before it is safe for anyone to venture back to it.

    • I don't have a Facebook account any more either.

      However, 800 million plus people do - and if they're going to be up there I would rather that they were kept up-to-date on security threats than not. So we have a Facebook community where we share information on threats and scams.

      Ultimately it's an individual decision whether you wish to have a FB account or not, but I think it's good that people who are on Facebook have an easy way to get advice and security alerts.

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About the author

I've been writing about technology, careers, science and health since 1995. I rose to the lofty heights of Executive Editor for eWEEK, popped out with the 2008 crash, joined the freelancer economy, and am still writing for my beloved peeps at places like Sophos's Naked Security, CIO Mag, ComputerWorld, PC Mag, IT Expert Voice, Software Quality Connection, Time, and the US and British editions of HP's Input/Output. I respond to cash and spicy sites, so don't be shy.