May 13, 2011

War Help via Chat: What a Bad Idea


The Chat feature has been added to some accounts. This is the worst thing Zynga could have come up with and it's a shame they didn't ask players about it first. I don't expect it to last very long unless Zynga really doesn't care about our Facebook accounts. We might as well call this feature Crack The Safe Part 2. In the new war popup window, it no longer says "COMING SOON" and now says "NEW".
You see the option to request war help via chat on the Declare War Page next to the "Ask Friends for Help" button.
When you click on it the first time, you have to give Mafia Wars permission to invade your Facebook Chat feature.
Once you approve, you will get a box letting you know who is also on chat and available to help you with a war.
Click on "Chat" and an automated message for war help is generated.
Click "Send" and the message will appear in that players Facebook Chat Box along with a tinyurl link.
The process is effective. You can see here, the player above helped me in my war right away. I did not ask my mafia for help so I could see how the Chat feature worked. Otherwise my war would have been over.
I had to laughed when I saw some Zynga math going on. Often you will be told there are "No friends available" even though you see a ton of them on line. I'll give Zynga the benefit of the doubt and assume these players have yet to give Mafia Wars permission.
I never open my Facebook Chat but decided to give it a try so I could write about this feature. Within minutes of turning on my chat, I was bombarded with messages from strangers saying hello. I'm trying to play Mafia Wars and have no desire to start a chat fest.
In a previous post that will hopefully come back to blogger, I discussed the problem with wars because of automated scripts. The majority of them are over in seconds. With that being said, the Chat feature is rather useless as most players won't need it or even get the opportunity to try it as their war will be over before they can make it to the Chat button.
In addition to being useless, it's very dangerous. We preach over and over again to NEVER click on links contained in the Chat Box. This is especially true when they are shortened urls from players we don't know. Hackers can easily gain access to your account this way. If anything, Zynga made it a little easier for them to trick us. ANYBODY can create a tinyurl that can do all kinds of bad things. What's to stop them from asking for help in a war and then posting it. Zynga has their own url shortening service. Look at the fanblast point for today: Why they are using a third party url shorting service is beyond me. If you allowed Mafia Wars to access your Facebook Chat and wish you hadn't, it can be reversed. Just go to your Privacy Settings from your Account Bar, and select 'Edit your settings located in the lower left corner. From there click on Edit Settings next to all the Apps you use and locate Mafia Wars. Click on Edit Settings again, find "Access Facebook Chat" and select remove.
Team Spockholm recognized tinyurls as a potential security problem and came up with their own solution (1). Because of all the shortened urls generated from their popular bookmarklet, the Link-a-Nator, Team Spockholm created their own url shortening service called Any shortened url containing comes from the Mafia Wars application. There is no guess work involved and no opportunity for your account to be hacked. Zynga needs to do the same thing and remove this feature until they do.
In another deleted post, i told you about the addition of the War Help link to the Link-a-Nator. This is a static link so it will always work. Once you load the Link-a-Nator, check the "War help link" and click on the "Generate General Links" button.
Your permanent War Help link will be generated.
If you don't want to use a script to do this, look for an older post and copy the link location. You won't get a safe link but will have the long link that contains "in the mafia". It would be much better to use this in chat so your helpers can inspect it prior to blind unsafe clicking. At a minimum, Zynga should use this link instead of shorten it with a third party tool. I thought those were against the TOS anyways!

Article written by Jennifer Patterson, Creator of the MW Loot Lady Blog, The Mafia Wars Loot Lady Facebook Fan Page and Co-Host of The Informant Podcast.
All material is protected by copyright law


  1. you will loose the war before sent the link wtg zynga

  2. right on Loot Lady ;-) I only have a few friends out of the thousands who can see me on chat; t'was too intrusive before I created lists to hide 'pests' and other well meaning but annoying friends

  3. well, you obviously come to facebook only to play MW, some people are not there for that reason only, some people don't have 5k unknown friends to help them with MW, some wars are not over in seconds but last minutes, hours, so some people might find this feature handy, I don't because of the permission we need to give zynga in just another invasion into private land, but still might go for this...

  4. zynga developers must be crack smoking idiots.they are trying to kill this game off.judging by the monthly users they are

  5. I have a slowly growing friends group called "chatblock" I am ALWAYS set as offline for this group.
    About half are guys trying to hit on me, the others are MW players asking for crime sprees or war help.
    The group may grow real fast now.

  6. So.. Zynga is opening up ability to use Mafia Wars game to bypass FaceBook chat random captcha when sending links to chat.. excellent.. not.

  7. this is a security risk .. not too long ago we had virus hacking accounts through chat .. so it will be only time before hackers change their tactics and ask u to help in a war & link is a virus .. it is not like Zynga doesn't have it's on short URL service, why not use it with this feature to ensure players the link is not a random tinyurl(i never opened chat before& will never give app permission to chat).

  8. It is completely insane from Zynga to make people get used to be sent links in chat messages and people getting infected with koobface and suchlike are a living proof how dangerous this is.

    But at least with tinyurl you can enable a preview that shows where the link redirects you, HEAVILY RECOMMENDED!!

    How? Go to look at the left side, click "Preview" and enable it (cookies must be enabled for this to work)

  9. i'm glad i keep chat blocked 24/7. unblock it and you get creeps contacting you almost immediately. now there is more reason to keep it blocked.

  10. The only thing Zynga does well is come up with one bad idea after another. They've screwed the game so far into the ground it'll never again see the light of day. The game is no longer recognizable, it's nothing but a spamtarded clusterfuck. Will the last player PLEASE turn off the lights.

  11. tnx sooooo much, i was never online in fb, and since i allowed this chat thing, they kept signing me in :/ and i didn't know how to undo it...thank u very much!!


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