The new Facebook threat to business

Unable to keep users' personal info private, Facebook unveils messaging system that will swamp IT with hard-to-defend traffic

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That's because corporate mail, such as Exchange, is routed through the heavily defended port 25, while Webmail goes in and out via lightly defended ports 80 or 443, says King. While it's true that Webmail providers screen for threats, it's not at all clear how effective that screening actually is. So when the volume of Facebook mail spikes, as it surely will, the number of threats hitting those lightly defended ports will soar. Given Facebook's terrible record of data leaks, it's hard to be confident that the company will do a better job of keeping out malware.

There's another business issue: Electronic communications of some employees in financial services and medical-related businesses are required by law to be archived for years, and data handled by those users must be secured. As Facebook usage increases at work, IT will have the additional burden of being sure that employees in regulated positions segregate business and personal communications. What a mess.

Personal privacy nightmare
The mind-boggling privacy issues related to this new platform are almost too obvious to mention. Facebook's privacy controls are confusing and inadequate, and they change every few months as a new leak surfaces. Facebook IDs are handed off to third parties who can combine them with other information and use them to identify actual users.

And remember, at this point, Facebook is just leaking information on users' home pages and the pages they visit. There will so much more information to handle and probably mishandle when its new platform takes off.

Think about the poor college freshman who after a night of drinking "sexts" something wildly inappropriate to her boyfriend. That compromising picture will hang around forever, a huge embarrassment that could sink job prospects and other relationships. The prospects of having email containing infinite amount of personal -- and in many cases, business -- data floating around Facebook's leaky containers is horrifying.

Finally, think about this: Once Facebook becomes a more complete platform, it will attract waves of hackers and spambots intent on attacking the new big thing. At the moment, Facebook messages seem to be free of spam, but that could change in a hurry.

There you have it. Project Titanic is a lose-lose-lose proposition. But what else should we expect from the titanic ego of the Boy Billionaire?

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This article, "The new Facebook threat to business," was originally published by Read more of Bill Snyder's Tech's Bottom Line blog and follow the latest technology business developments at

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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