April 11th, 2007


Inadvertent Success!

The new Facebook header

Today in the IEEE lounge, I was shoulder surfing above shoez and pestering him to look at all the new pretty features of Facebook's new Facelift. In an attempt to simultaneously satisfy his curiosity, but also not encourage my obnoxious behavior, he started viewing parts of the site that I didn't really care about.

WSU's top books!

One of these new features is the newly revamped Network Statistics, or as we fogies called it, the Pulse. For those outside the walled garden, it's a breakdown of the various banal details people put on their profiles. This includes such greats as:

  • Music
  • Movies
  • Sex (gender)
  • Interests
  • TV shows
  • Political views
  • Relationship status
  • Books
Two fake profiles

Wait, "books?" College students have the time to read for recreation? As Max went through the statistics, he took a look at the "top books" and asked a question that tickled both our interests. "What the hell is 'Sam'?" Neither of us had a clue. So, he did what any right-thinking man would do: he clicked.

First, some history. Back when Pulse was still active, Sam and I wondered if it could be gamed. We had several profiles gathering dust from a previous prank that we promptly loaded with repeated mentions of something unique and inane. We waited a day. To our complete disappointment, nothing happened! Obviously, Facebook had been smart enough to only count an entry on someone's profile once. However, the moment I saw those two generals appear on Max's screen, I knew what had happened.

Someone at Facebook forgot that Testing Matters! And, the overloaded profiles we had constructed so many months ago exploded upon the "scene" like the ticking time bombs they were. I quickly called the man of the hour and let him know about what had happened. After we finished laughing about how "Sam" had beaten out the Bible, he started IM'ing with noisybastard. The following conversation ensued:

Erwin Poke Rommel's gamed profile

Sam: I'm wondering if it would be worth it to get to the top of facebook
Sam: I'm tempted to put up "sam@ifdown.net" or something as the number one book
noisybastard: Wouldn't be hard.
noisybastard: If 2 profiles gets you to #2...
Sam: See how much spam I get
Sam: Well, but that's #2 on top of WSU
Sam: Not all of facebook
noisybastard: Hahaha, yes.
Sam: But yeah, I agree
Sam: With like 20 accounts
Sam: I think you could do it easily
noisybastard: Totally.
noisybastard: Didn't a book about Zuckerberg's mom getting shanked by carnies just come out?

Earlier today, I thought about auditing the website for new XSS exploits. I dismissed the thought because I assumed they would have a comprehensive test suite for that now. Now, I'm not so sure... perhaps there might be more fun on the table?