[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ately, Facebook users had been worried that their accounts were hacked, and they put up statuses saying that their account was hacked or some even received a private message warning them.
The warning spread in the form of a message, sent from a friend or “friend.” The message claims that the sender received a suspicious friend request from you, and that the proper way to address this disturbing news is to immediately share the message they sent to you with all your friends.
It reads something like this, “Hi….I actually got another friend request from you which I ignored so you may want to check your account. Hold your finger on the message until the forward button appears…then hit forward and all the people you want to forward too….I had to do the people individually. PLEASE DO NOT ACCEPT A NEW friendship FROM ME AT THIS TIME.”
To fret or not to fret
Chances are, you were not hacked if you received this message, nor are you being impersonated on Facebook, and no fraudulent friend requests got sent, it is a viral hoax. But people are falling for yet another copy/paste hoax on Facebook, a website with a long history of spreading them, reports Washington Post.
Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Snopes, the fact-checking site, explains that the hoax appears to reference fears about “cloned” Facebook accounts, where would-be scammers copy the name, profile picture, and basic information from a real account to create a second, nearly identical account on Facebook. Then, they send a bunch of friend requests to the original account’s friend list, to try to scam the person’s unsuspecting friends into granting access to their personal information by accepting the request.
What to do after receiving such a message?
While account cloning is real, the viral copy/paste message warning about it is likely not from a cloned account. In case you got one of those messages, here’s what you can do: First, check on your friend’s account and make sure it’s not a clone of their real account (if you search their name and find two completely identical accounts, it means that one is a clone). And if you were messaged by a “clone” of your friend, then report that account to Facebook.
But chances are, that the messages are coming from your friend’s real account, passed along to you on the wind of good intentions. In that case, do not fret and simply ignore the message.
More hoax from Facebook
Earlier this year, a hoax claiming Facebook was about to restrict your news feed to 26 friends went viral as a lot of people who believed it copied and pasted the disturbing “news” to their own feeds.
This kind of messages tend to go viral by tapping into real fears about the power of the social networking site.
The “you’ve been hacked” hoax spread in the wake of some real news about Facebook security, that tens of millions of accounts were compromised by a massive hack. As the Post reported, users who were affected by that hack were forced to log out of their accounts as a security measure. Facebook also placed a message at the top of the news feed (in real) explaining what happened to the 50 million users whose information was compromised, reports The Washington Post.