We thought yesterday's series of wacky Facebook posts appearing on MLB team pages was the work of a very skilled—and very quick—hacker. As it turns out, we were wrong. Not long after we put up our post a Facebook spokesperson issued us the following statement:
Recently, several Pages made unauthorized posts as a result of actions from a single rogue administrator of these Pages. Our team responded quickly and worked with our partners to eliminate the spam caused by this attack. This was an unique, isolated incident and we are always working to improve our systems to better protect our users and their data.
We're a bit concerned that Facebook would consider any of those Facebook posts "spam," but maybe that's why the company's stock price is sinking faster than a pitch from Justin Masterson. Furthermore, we've learned that Facebook didn't remove any of the posts themselves—the "rogue administrator" did.
We actually talked to that individual, though they're a bit timid to share a lot of details. Here's what we learned:
- Access to all 30 MLB teams' Facebook pages is put in the hands of employees making less than living wage.
- The posts were made as a stunt, and not intended to be seen by the public.
- None of us ever saw "the best ones."
The incident sheds light on one of MLB's lasting issues: the control MLB Advanced Media attempts to wield upon anything affiliated with Major League Baseball. MLBAM runs all the teams' web and Facebook pages. That's a lot of responsibility—and power—put in the hands of people who apparently aren't being paid very much. It also appears the roles of MLB employees (both inside and outside of the MLBAM arm) can be, at times, ambiguous or confusing.
We've written about MLBAM in the past, and this season they've been remarkably more realistic in the way they deal with the intersection of traditional media and the Internet. Heck, they even have embeddable video now! We hope they continue to follow the hypermedia approach that other major sports leagues are taking (and you should count MLS in that group, because they're better than anybody) but as long as all the power is centralized, incidents like yesterday's Facebook fiasco are bound to happen again.