September 03, 2010, 1:26 PM — It seems Apple is getting into the social networking business, God help them. Among the other life changing products rolled out at this week's semi-annual Apple fanboyfest was "Ping," a service that lets you see what music the other 160 million people using iTunes like and recommend.
This is, apparently, what remains of Lala.com, a cool and innovative music-based social network Apple snapped up last December and quietly shuttered in May.
Ping is barely out two days the door, and already it's already beset with controversy. First, there was that embarrassing public spat between Apple and Facebook prior to the announcement.
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For whatever reason, Steve Jobs would not agree to the "onerous terms" demanded by Facebook (which he declined to enumerate), so Ping went out the door without any integration with the world's largest social network whatsoever. But not before Apple had created press materials boasting about how you could log into Ping via Facebook Connect or find fellow Pingers on Facebook.
I guess Steve and Mark Zuckerberg aren't Facebook friends any more.
Now the problem is more practical: Turns out that Ping is a spammer-scammer's heaven. By all reports, Ping users are getting dinged with the same kinds of URL-baiting comment spam we've grown so fond of elsewhere on the blogosphere.
Sophos Security blogger Chester Wisniewski asks quite rightly why Apple couldn't see this coming:
"Most of the security industry has been pointing out the migration of spam from an email-only venture to blog/forum comments, Facebook, Twitter and other Web 2.0 platforms. But apparently Apple didn't consider this when designing Ping, as the service implements no spam or URL filtering. It is no big shock that less than 24 hours after launch, Ping is drowning in scams and spams."