The dangers of popularity in online communities

An interesting article about MySpace spam on The Register.

“In the beginning, MySpace was a place to meet new friends and get to know old ones even better by browsing their journals, photos and network of chums.

But soon, Viagra marketers, pedophiles and hackers latched onto MySpace and rendered it as ineffective as most other net-based public forums.”

Some MySpace groups have practically been killed off by spammers – and as we increasingly use websites and third-party web services in education, we have to consider how vulnerable online websites and communities can be.

In mitigation of the danger, MySpace is a big target, and I’m sure that it could do a lot more to improve the situation*, so it’s not the end of the online learning world – but do we need contingency plans to cope with one’s VLE being attacked? Do you have them already?

* MySpace rant unrelated to the security issues in the article: I really hate MySpace – the navigation makes no sense; I’ve told it I don’t want music to play automatically, yet it still does; you get the idea. As I’ve said elsewhere, the only good thing about it is that lots of people know about it, so it can serve as a crude search tool.

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