FacebookGate, Take 2?

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Ethics, Facebook, Strategy, Thoughts | Posted on 10-12-2009

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Hard to believe it’s been nearly a year since ‘FacebookGate‘ took place, but here we go again! I received an email on October 8th about the squatting that’s already occurred, and saw a recent tweet from Rachel on Twitter about the issue.  The email notes:

Groups with the same few members exist for at least the following colleges and universities:

Swarthmore College
Widener University School of Law
University of the Arts
University of Pennsylvania
Ohio University
Millersville University of PA
St. Andrew’s University
Muhlenberg College
In addition, there are numerous other “2014″ groups that do not share the same small set of members.  However, they all have group descriptions that are strikingly similar. The description for each of these groups is something along the lines of the following, with the appropriate school name and location filled in for each respective school:
“This is THE best place for all the incoming freshmen/transfers of the Class of 2014. Just for those heading to ______ in 2010, this will be the group where we can talk about what’s going on and around campus.”
The fact that all these groups share similar descriptions suggests that these groups are all run by the same organization. I had hoped you would share your thoughts on the matter.
My thoughts on the matter: While I admittedly haven’t checked these groups for myself to see what’s going on, my initial thought is …. don’t miss out on this again.  It’s time to begin implementing your strategy of utilizing Facebook for customer service, retention and yieldin your incoming Class of 2014.  It’s ok to start the group and still let it run organically from there. Don’t view it as controlling the content, you just have the keys to it.
Also, consider a Page over a Group this year.  Both have their pros and cons, which I might outline in a future post, but the changes to Facebook Pages last April make it a very attractive platform over Groups.
What are you doing to get ahead of the game this recruitment cycle? How can you/we stop another FacebookGate from happening?

Comments posted (9)

I just got a notice today that I need to authenticate my association with my Universities page because I’m an admin. Looks like they are taking proactive steps to ensure that the people running the pages are the people they say they are.

Yep, you can add SUNY Oswego to the list. The people aren’t the same but the copy is. Plus Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, California University of Pennsylvania, Covenant College, Middlebury College, Towson University, Marymount Manhattan College and fellow SUNY college at Buffalo. Looks like a couple different sets of “members” … but the “related groups” kinda gives it away.

I’m now happy with the decision to grab an Official Class of 2014 group, which I just rolled out in terms of promotion today with our first major Open House. Having a Fans page and official channels of the college to promote — thanks to last year’s lessons learned — leaves us in a better position than when this surprised us.

[...] after sleuthing by New Paltz’s ever-alert Rachel Reuben, she Brad are warning people once again about fake Class of 2014 groups. Many of the members are the same and contain the same [...]

Any idea who is behind it this time? Is it College Prowler again or someone else?

I’ve not seen any Suffolk groups just yet, but we created our page just after the 2013 fiasco and made it live about 3 months ago. We’re also including it in all of our collateral and have connected it to the university FB page and the Suffolk web. Here’s hoping for no FBG2! :)

@jesskry

DePaul’s been hit, too–they actually made two groups, both identical copy, one with six members, the other with none. They use our logo — we may go after them on that. We’ve already squatted our own 2014 fan pages, but they aren’t active yet.

Has anyone figured out who is behind this yet?

After further review: the people who are making some of the fake groups are the following:

Chris Smith from Tallahassee Florida (Club Promoter)

A company called YourFunStop… in the groups they link to a YouTube video of the schools fight song… They words to the song are incorrect was they are written in the group and on the youtube videos. In the description of each youtube video it says:

“Visit http://www.your-fun-stop.com to buy this video and song for $1 or to get this as your ringtone.

Hear and sing-a-long with the Florida State University fight song!

Visit http://www.your-fun-stop.com to purchase this video.”

My guess is they are trying to sell ringtones of college fightsongs to incoming students.

What do you think??

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