The other day I was going through my usual routine of checking e-mail, direct messages, replies, mentions, etc., when I saw this interesting message from one of my friends on Twitter:
Hey, I just added you to my Mafia family. You should accept my invitation! 🙂 Click here: XXXXXXX (edited, so no one would make the same mistake I did).
I grew up playing video games, from the Atari 2600 & Intellivision, Nintendo Entertainment System & Sega Master System… and currently Xbox 360 & PS3. With years of gaming on my life’s résumé, I was naturally interested in this new game called Mobster World. I’ve played iMobsters on the iPhone and enjoyed it, so I thought, “What the heck! I’ll try it out.” I really don’t have much time for games lately, but a few minutes playing a simple point-and-click game should be harmless enough. HA! Little did I know that the developers of Mobster World had a very annoying way of trying to attract new players.
I clicked on the link and… I know, I know! I’m an idiot for doing so, but bear with me for a moment. Anyway, I clicked on the link and the first thing that popped on the screen was a Twitter Application Authorization page, which I’ve seen before. I hesitated, but clicked on the “Approve” button. My computer didn’t blow up, so I was now ready to start playing this Mobster World game, but first I had to come up with a name for my mobster. I chose Don Sharky, of course! After deciding on my character’s name and basic characteristics, I dove into the game. I participated in a few criminal acts for the mob boss, leveled up a couple of times, and then I decided to check out the game settings. Oh, look! There’s a Twitter settings section to play around with. Do I want the game to send tweets about my game progress or send invites? Um… no, I don’t. So, I disabled the Twitter options. Phew! It’s a good thing I checked the settings!
Spam Bot Assimilation
It was too late! This game automatically starts its attack as soon as you click “Approve”. One of my fellow writing “tweeps” and #Pubwrite patrons, Lorna, sent me a message warning me about the viral consequences of clicking on the game invite link. She told me that the game sends messages to all of your Twitter followers. OH! NO! Sure enough, my Direct Message list was full of invites that “I” had sent to a ton of my followers. I had inadvertently been turned into a spam bot!!! I had taken the bait that dangled in front of me and I bit hard. Now, I had to try and pull the hook out and undue the mess that had already started to unfold. My first task (after canceling my Mobster World account, of course) was to send out a few messages informing all of my followers to ignore the game invite that they may receive from “me”. Mobster World was trying to assimilate me into a pesky Twitter droid, but I wasn’t going to let that happen! I quickly grabbed my can of “Bot-Be-Gone” and frantically sent direct messages to every Twitter follower that I could visibly see that Mobster World had sent invites to “on my behalf”.
After nearly half an hour of sending message after message to my innocent followers, apologizing, and feeling embarrassed for falling into such a trap in the first place, I claimed victory against Mobster World and it’s evil plan to assimilate me into a Twitter Spam Bot. Sadly, Don Sharky didn’t fair so well… he’s swimming with the fishes. But, so be it! I’m happy to be my good ‘ol human self again and I learned a valuable lesson. Avoid all game invites on Twitter like a bad habit!
If you had a similar experience or know of any other dangers that lurk in some unknown dark alleys of Twitterville, please comment on this post. I look forward to reading your responses. Thanks for visiting and be sure to grab a complimentary can of “Bot-Be-Gone” on your way out. 🙂
Oh, by the way, after the whole Mobster World fiasco, the next time I signed into Twitter, I had to fill out that little CAPTCHA box to prove that I was a real person. Go figure!
You might also enjoy:
- “Dead in Pink”
- “The Secret Diary of James Killborn”
- The Lucky 7 Meme . . . And Pudding Wrestling!
- Jumping Out of a Perfectly Good Airplane