Pornographic movies posted on Facebook walls?

Filed Under: Facebook, Social networks, Spam

14 November 2011 update: Since this article was first published it has become apparent that many Facebook users in recent days have been bombarded with hardcore porn and images of violence and animal abuse. You can read more about that attack here. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.

The following article was published in September 2011. It is included below for completeness, however we now believe that there *is* evidence that a problem consistent with the warning messages has struck many Facebook users. In light of that, we advise users that it should no longer be considered a hoax, and apologise for any inconvenience or confusion.

Blue movieWarnings are spreading like wildfire on Facebook, claiming that hackers are posting pornographic movies on users' walls which are invisible to the owners of the wall but are visible to friends and family.

You can imagine how that would be pretty embarrassing if were true. Fortunately, as far as we can tell so far, it's nonsense.

Here's what a typical message looks like, spread by a Facebook user who thinks they are warning their friends - but really perpetuating the scare.

Movie hoax on Facebook

ATTENTION FRIENDS! HACKERS ARE DOING DAMAGE AGAIN ON FACEBOOK! PORNOGRAPHIC MOVIES ARE BEING POSTED ON OUR BEHALF ON THE WALLS OF OUR PROFILES! WE DO NOT SEE THEM, BUT OTHER PEOPLE DO, AS IF IT WERE OUR PUBLICATION! SOMETIME EVEN OUR SUPPOSED Comments APPEARS. IF YOU SEE SUCH A THING IN MY HOMEPAGE, ALERT ME AND DO NOT OPEN IT BECAUSE IT IS A VIRUS! ...COPY AND RE POST THIS MESSAGE

Here are a couple of other versions of the message:

THE HACKERS ARE PUTTING SEXUAL VIDEOS TO YOUR NAME IN THE WALLS / PROFILES OF YOUR FRIENDS WITHOUT YOU KNOWING IT. YOU DONT SEE IT, BUT OTHER PEOPLE CAN SEE IT, AS IF THESE WERE A PUBLICATION THAT YOU MADE! ALSO, THEY'RE SENDING INBOX MSGS TO YOUR FRIENDS ASKING YOU TO CLICK A LINK. DON'T DO IT!! SO IF YOU RECEIVE SOMETHING FROM ME ABOUT A VIDEO OR A STRANGE INBOX MESSAGE, IT'S NOT ME!

Hackers are busy on Facebook. They are posting insulting messages on the walls of your friends with your regards without you knowing about it. They are also sending out X-rated pictures. If you receive one of those messages in my name, it isn't from me. I would NEVER disrespect any of my FB friends! Put this on your wall and warn your friends. Share the news! And please tell me if something is on your wall that is supposed to have come from me

The message is, of course, nonsense and users should not repost the warning.

We have not seen any evidence that hackers are able to post content to a compromised Facebook wall that the owner of the account cannot see.

The fact that the bogus warning tells you that it's invisible to your eyes just adds to the panic, of course.

Yes, scammers have often posted thumbnails of what appear to be pornographic videos to compromised Facebook users' walls, but we have never seen any incidents where the post was *invisible* to the user.

Although a hoax is nothing like as bad as a piece of malware squirming its way between users and stealing information, it's still a nuisance, clogging up communications, increasing the overall level of spam and perhaps leading people to make bad decisions.

There's an important lesson here - don't believe everything you read on the internet, and think twice before you pass a story on to your friends.

Keep your wits about you and stay informed about the latest scams, hoaxes and malware attacks spreading fast across Facebook. One of the best ways to do that is to join the Sophos Facebook page, where more than 140,000 people regularly share information on threats and discuss the latest security news.

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57 Responses to Pornographic movies posted on Facebook walls?

  1. jaybee · 1095 days ago

    should we forward this warning? ;)

    • Kenny · 1040 days ago

      I wouldn't!
      It could be just another hoax. har har har

    • Cris · 1040 days ago

      This warning is not a hoax... it's real happening... I have received 4 of these porn things in my home page by friends that would never do it... I hided it and went to their page and nothing was there

  2. schmunzelmonster · 1095 days ago

    Got any tips on persuading people that reposting things like this makes them part of the problem, not part of the solution? Usually I find "human viruses" see the error of their ways when you point it out to them but sometimes there is digging in of heels. "It is much better to warn people of risks, just in case" is a particularly annoying answer I had recently.

    • poppythistle · 1040 days ago

      I've found showing them that it takes a few seconds via a google search to verify or disprove one of these warnings (often with a selection of the top websites google found with the words I put in the search bar to get them and how long the process took) either gets them to see the light, or at least stops them posting such things to me!
      Either way, I'm a happier bunny!

      • Darren · 1040 days ago

        Yes, I say to them, paste in google first before posting and get educated but some people are beyond help! :(

  3. marino · 1095 days ago

    I have seen last days a lot of people beeing tagged on video without the owner nor the person tagged beeing aware of...
    what were those?

    • deanna · 1040 days ago

      It's true I also saw the pictures on my daughters page and she had no idea they were there, so maybe the video thing is a hoax but not the porn pictures

  4. deliverydemon · 1095 days ago

    There are some apps about where, if you click on a post you see on a friend's wall, will post the same thing to your profile as a Like, but you won't see it on your wall. this happens if you click on the post even if you don't click on the embedded link. However friends will see that you have Liked it. I suspect that this what has prompted the messages, so it's misdescription rather than a hoax. I've reported a couple of these as spam to FB. I haven't seen porn examples but I have seen them on more general topics. No examples, sorry, they disappear on reporting.

  5. tim · 1095 days ago

    i have seen the porn on 4 of my friends "tags".
    this is not what my fiends would post, so how did you over look this?
    i don't repost requests to repost anyway; i simply contact them.
    there are porn tags out there, i've seen them.

    • We're not saying that bad guys can't post pornographic messages on compromised users' walls, or that they can't tag the names of innocent people on pornographic pictures. We've talked about that kind of activity many times before.

      It's the "invisible" to the user bit which doesn't ring true.

      • tim salmon · 1040 days ago

        then how come i call my friends that get this, and they can't see it?
        there is a breach of credibility happening here!
        explain, please!

      • bluejewel · 1040 days ago

        im not sure what you label them, but i have seen the porn thing more than once myself, and the posters knew nothing about it untill they were told by friends. that sounds rather "invisable to the user" to me. :
        the one i remember was months ago, so cant recall exactly what it did, i just remember it did something unpleasant if you clicked it.... maybe had you reposted it unawares to.

        • LP Gull · 1040 days ago

          I have seen the porno pics just over the weekend too coming from friends and they know nothing about them either. Maybe sophos should do their homework before they post.

        • Granite · 1040 days ago

          It's probably the 'FIENDS', that were mentioned in the first post! :)

  6. Jay · 1095 days ago

    All members just dump Facebook....problem solved. Some things are not worth the hassle. Facebook is at the top of the list.

    • Guest · 1094 days ago

      Good point. If FB keeps screwing up by adding new formats, alot of people will dump it anyway!

  7. Tracy · 1089 days ago

    Yes, several apps can and DO post on my wall via friends sending me"hot guy hugs" etc. I cant see them but friends can. I cant even see them when I get notices about my friends commenting or liking them, so its easy to understand how THIS particular rumor has teeth.

  8. Sher · 1040 days ago

    I've seen this warning and have also seen evidence of the photos,messages, and videos that are floating around on facebook in the last few days. Granted, I thought it odd that you wouldn't be able to see it on your own wall, but they ARE on the homepage. The video is saw posted had a very explicite photo of an old black woman...not going to say what she was doing, but she was nude. I never click on these things, but to have that picture show up on the homepage was horrible. My kids could have seen that! It had a friend's name on it saying they were tagged by a friend of theirs. There were also several pictures supposedly posted by teens on my friend's list. Both were very sexually oriented...I clicked the X to report them. I've also seen and been sent (didn't open) a video saying things like "yucky" or nobody can watch this for more than 15 seconds." The one I saw the attached photo of had a guy with what looked like a massive boil on his neck. I'm assuming these are viruses, worms, etc. I warned my friends not to open anything that looked odd. What's up with all the trash this week?

  9. Pam Jewell · 1040 days ago

    I have seen two posts in the last 24 hours from people who couldn't see it and when questioned had not been to that site.....your information is incorrect....SORRY to have to tell you this! My sister would NEVER comment on ANYTHING like the picture I saw on my feed and when I asked her about it SHE could not see it herself....SO the fact that you claim it is IMPOSSIBLE for it to be hidden from the person is INCORRECT.

  10. IT guy · 1040 days ago

    Tagged is the first clue. Why oh why doesn't Farcebook set tagging to needs permission by default. Most of this would simply go away. But ofc you can't stop people from clicking those links which will then spam and people will lie and say I didn't click anything because they don't want to look the fool.

  11. NCnotary · 1040 days ago

    Not a hoax for photos. I rec'd 3 porn photos in my newsfeed over the weekend from 3 different friends that indicated they did not send them. Also, a chat request with an attachement - I questioned that person and they did not send it. I've been advised to not accept apps on my facebook profile and when you delete them, so would the hacking.

  12. Susan Clizbe · 1040 days ago

    Actually, Graham, while I agree completely about the ridiculousness of these posts, and shared your post, part of your assertion is based on flawed observation. I have noticed since one of the recent Facebook "improvement" rounds, probably the one where it went from chron order to the algorithm's choice of important stuff first, that more often than not when I post something, I don't see it in my own news feed. If I go to my profile, it's there, but it isn't in my feed either chron or highlighted.

    So the spam/malware guys may not be smart or devious enough to be "posting pornographic movies on users' walls which are invisible to the owners of the wall but are visible to friends and family." But Facebook's so-called improvements have done it for them, and thus the Chicken Littles of the world have asserted the veracity of the attacks in their gazillion all-caps posts ....

  13. Paula · 1040 days ago

    I agree with the tagging comments. I think that is the problem here, although I could be wrong, I don't claim to know everything by a long shot. But it does seem to make sense, that if you leave yourself open to "open tagging" you make yourself vulnerable to "anything" your friends click on. And why would you allow and app to post on your wall without your approval? That seems like you are leaving yourself open for anything there. Just my .02 and my opinion on the matter. Just Sayin!!!

  14. bean · 1040 days ago

    Just because you haven't seen it doesn't mean it's not happening.

  15. BobLee · 1040 days ago

    I've warned a couple of people that were totally unaware of these porn pic post being made. THEY CANNOT SEE IT ON THEIR WALL! REPEAT THAT! It appears they are linking it to a porn PAGE to "Like" of some sort. I believe certain software allows them to access and post with out permissions. Not sure how is is happenening without them being able to SEE the post but that IS IN FACT the case.

    I couls see how this could be a high level attach on FB in general to move people to let's say "circles" Hmmm... If that's true, the last ting I would do is leave FB.

    ...B

  16. Tim · 1040 days ago

    Facebook need to implement technology that actively requires you to agree to the posting of something on your wall before it is posted. A dialogue box displaying the proposed content should be displayed, along with the question, "Do you want this: .... to appear on your Wall?".

    Along with this, it should not be possible for people to *have* to 'Like' something BEFORE they have viewed it! How can you 'like' something before you know what it is??? The whole concept of liking something before you know what it is is just bizarre.

    Currently, by the time you've Liked something to see what it's all about, it is too late, and far too few people know how to remove posts from their wall, plus, in the time it has taken for them to determine that they shouldn't have done it in the first place their friends are being drawn into the chaos.

    If Facebook made it so that you could view all Pages/Groups before liking them this would go a long way to preventing some of the malicious pages/videos etc out there in Facebook land.

    Groups would still need their 'private' areas, where only people who have joined the group can post, but this should be secondary to getting initial access.

  17. Mr. Kris · 1040 days ago

    To those who have a Facebook profile porn issue:
    It's in your Facebook account, because you at one point said you were cool with it. This is as a result of "liking" a site or application, which sometimes is granting them full permission to use your account however they see fit. You wanted to see something that was promised to shock you, and insisted you give the magic word ("like") in order to see it. They fail to deliver, you closed that page, and forgot all about it. Then it came back an bit you on the behind.
    It's not a technical virus in the "computer" sense. It will do nothing to your computer, but it does have moderate access to your account. I suggest you go to your apps setting and get rid of everything that doesn't seem familiar to you. You probably have dozens to hundreds of lousy apps to jettison anyway, if you have a habit of blindly liking things.
    That should fix the problem. If not, I can't be sure what to say.

    • Mr. Kris · 1040 days ago

      I meant to include that the "invisible" bit just means they're not notified of their own posting. This is because they have already given the necessary permission. Facebook assumes you're cool with it, having digitally signed off allowance for someone else to post using your account.
      In a way it's the user doing it, because months ago, they wanted to see an enormous zit get popped, or see Miley Cyrus do something perverted. They're just not in any direct way involved in the posting, so they're totally stunned when they're accountable for the posting. If you own a business and hire a criminal to manage it, you're going to get surprises.

  18. Tish · 1040 days ago

    This article is BOGUS!
    These vids/pics have been posted to people's accounts over the weekend and some of them were totally unaware of it being done therefore it was, in fact, invisible. FB users needed to be made aware of this so posting those messages on your page was just fine and was a good way to get the message across to everyone else!
    I'd ignore this article and keep making folks aware of what is taking place at FB and, in some accounts, on their own pages.

  19. Miranda · 1040 days ago

    I think I know what's going on. I have two Facebook accounts, one is for playing games, and the other one is for friends, family, etc. And on one account I can't see what I liked in my own newsfeed. Only my friends can see that in their newsfeed. But on the other account I see everything that I liked in my own newsfeed. I tried to find out if I can change my "likes" to "visible for myself", but unfortunately there is no option to make my "likes" visible to myself. And I asked some of my friends if they can see everything they liked in their own newsfeed. Some of them said: "yes, I can see everything I liked." And some others said: "no, I can't see what I liked, I can only see what my friends like." So there are two kinds of newsfeeds! I wonder why that is... ? But those pornographic videos are absolutely NOT posted by a hacker. They come from rogue apps that install themselves on your account if you click them. And once installed on your account, they send posts to your friends' walls.

  20. Herger · 1040 days ago

    Its not a hoax. I was bombarded with this sexual video crap and so were some of my friends.

    • lee lee · 1040 days ago

      IT IS NOT A HOAX !!! I have already seen this going on. People don't even know they are infected, till others notifie them.

  21. Ed Kryslak · 1040 days ago

    You are very wrong, it is happening, It is still images of porn and videos are being sent as messages. I am very much enjoying the free porn.

  22. Michele · 1040 days ago

    Not a hoax its rampant on FB today.. The people who;s wall its posting on cant see it.. Also if you comment on a pic it reposts to all your friends. Everyone I talked to who had the virus all clicked on the link to see either miley sirus, kim kardashian, or soulja boy.

  23. Kimmy · 1040 days ago

    It isn't a hoax. Several of my friends have said that they received a post on their page with my name as the poster wanting them to view pornographic pictures. I obviously didn't send them. Luckily my friends are smart enough to know better.

    This article stating the notices are a hoax is wrong.

    I think this website should double check their facts. And never trust Snopes.com. They get things wrong too!

  24. complete_unknown · 1040 days ago

    Make sure it doesn't happen to yourself then. Set yourself up a second FB account and accept yourself as a friend, then go and look at your real self from that second account. If you see anything that you can't see from your real self account, then let us all know!

  25. Jessica · 1040 days ago

    People are misunderstanding the article. The hoax is that people were claiming that videos are being posted to your wall, as in someone else can go to your Facebook page and see it on your wall, but it's invisible to you. "Liking" a page that's hosted off of Facebook so it shows up in the news feed, or sending porn videos via private message without being aware of it is not the same thing as having something on your profile page that everyone can see but you.

  26. Julie · 1040 days ago

    I have seen something about a video that says lost repect for Miley Cyrus after someone watched the video, I didn't click it but just like to report it.

    • WillieO · 1040 days ago

      I saw this on a friends wall. It wasn't very clear.I clicked on it because my (male) friend is gay and I thought it might be a humourous post. Nothing happened (at first) ie it didn't open. 5 minutes later I got a txt from my 26 year old daughter telling me I was posting very graphic porn images to her and as it turned out every friend I had including my wife and 2 young teenage daughters. as I had only just started on facebook it wasn't a very long list but I had to go to every one of these friends wall and delete the post. Luckily it was one o'clock in the morning and there were only two of my friends logged on. This took about 2 hours. I was very tempted to close my FB account.

  27. Dean · 1040 days ago

    If in fact things are being sent to your friends with your name, please see: Click-jacking.

  28. Karla · 1040 days ago

    my friend had a weird sexual looking video appearing in my news feed and on her wall and no she couldnt see it when i told her about it so it can happen

  29. June · 1040 days ago

    Then how come I've seen a few on my friends list saying how sorry they were for naked pics being posted.....

  30. rxladyblue · 1040 days ago

    I just viewed a gay pornography pic that was on the news feed under her name. She could not see the pic but all of her friends could see it.

  31. Deb · 1040 days ago

    i just let a sriend know this was a hoax & thuis is what she commented...:'' well, i see them on others pages and i will not open them. my stepson has one on his page at this very moment, can't believe it is a hoax'' So, whats up with that??

  32. Caroline Heward · 1040 days ago

    Well it has happened to me this weekend! I am completely distressed by the whole sorry mess! Well it has happened to me this weekend! I am completely distressed by the whole sorry mess!

    And I CANNOT SEE WHAT HAS BEEN POSTED ON OTHER PEOPLES WALL - I CANNOT ITERATE THAT ENOUGH - LISTEN TO WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING - AND FORGET SITTING IN JUDGEMENT OF WHAT IS NOT POSSIBLE!!!!

    I can tell you it is happening, just as all these other comments are saying it is.
    I changed my status yesterday to question why FB friends had suddenly started sending nude pics on my wall - and will delete all offenders doing this. Within minutes of writing that status, I had a lady say that I had sent her a nude picture - and I was on my wall and I could not see it and did not click any links - so come on face it, there is a serious problem here!!!

    Another lady commented that she saw a comment about a nude picture that her son was supposed to have sent, when her son was out at the time, and could not have possibly sent it.

    A few friends sent very supportive comments, and one referred me to this page for information.

    Please be helpful, rather than SAY THAT THE PROBLEM DOES NOT EXIST - BECAUSE IT DOES - I HAVE MANY OTHER EXAMPLES...

    One of my uncles, sent me a message to say, "this is sick" - I called him to find out what the message was all about - he had no knowledge of the message, looked on his face book wall, messages, nothing, he does not even know how to send a message!

    And he was relieved that he didn't when I started to tell him what was happening to my account and what I was receiving.

    So please - refrain from saying that it is known to the senders - because it most certainly is INVISIBLE TO THE SUPPOSED SENDING OF THE OFFENDING MESSAGES.

    thank you for your patience in reading this comment - as you can hear, i am totally upset by the whole sorry mess... Caroline, Stress Management Consultant - so I am sure you get my point, why I am so stressed by it all!!!!!

  33. ralahinn1 · 1040 days ago

    One of my friend's accounts was compromised and messages containing a video were sent. My daughter's boyfriend had something posted on his wall that he couldn't see on his computer, but my daughter could see on his wall from hers.

  34. naomi · 1040 days ago

    well if its a hoax well then why did it happen to me? i saw a picture of a vagina and abused the owner and it then some how showed in my friends feed but the pic didnt show on my wall SO there is alot more to these warnings than you are willing to admit .. it wasnt untill i deleted the i posted a comment on their pic the pic dissapeared from friends feeds and the pic DID NOT display on my wall with the notification and that was VERY bad considering i have friends and family inc my kids who see my feed

  35. Cris · 1040 days ago

    The fact is that this is not a nonsense at all I saw in my page for 4 times yesterday and the day before from friends that would never post such a thing... I don't know who sophos is but they are terribly wrong... they even say: "of course that is not happening..." this is a strange statement because we know this stuff has been happening in facebook, so I wouldn't have any advice on hoax from this guys...

    • We're sorry. We try to get things right most of the time, but occasionally we slip up.

      When we posted (in our September article) that we believed the warnings were false that was because we had found no evidence that what was being described in the warning was taking place. It is only now, two months later, that evidence has come to light.

      Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience - this has been a complicated issue to get to the bottom of. The problem has been compounded by the fact that many Facebook users appear to be unaffected by the problem. It is not yet clear why some Facebook users are seeing the unpleasant content and others are not.

  36. Cris · 1040 days ago

    Funny that the comment needs to be accepted by you before goes public... why would be the reason for this?

    Many are being bombarded with sexual stuff on facebook all the time in the name of people that would never post such a thing... Last year they posted it in my name so dear author of this "hoax information"... I think would be advisable if you inform the public correctly... in fact it is shameful for you to post such an information because in facebook lots of people have experienced what you say it is a nonsense

  37. This is not a hoax as far as graphic violent images are concerned. For the past three days I've seen on both the newsfeed and my wall:
    A large decapitated dog (head only),
    one severely burned dog,
    one dog with large bleeding abrasions all over it's body from supposedly being dragged by a truck,
    one large, skinned and roasted dog ready to be carved by an Asian woman,
    a pile of 50 dead cats all bleeding from the mouth supposedly poisoned by Proctor and Gamble toilet bowl cleaner,
    and a toddler with his skull blown off and brains oozing out of his head.
    I unfriended many people and flagged the photos for 'graphic violence'.
    This has been very distressing!

  38. facebook must take serious action on d matter to see that it will not happen next

  39. louise · 1039 days ago

    ohhh, my head hurts....

  40. John · 935 days ago

    I strongly suspect this stemmed from someone accidentally uploading an indecent pic to their profile. (Hey, it's not always easy to tell what you're uploading if you're just looking at a tiny thumbnail or a filename.) Then they made up the warning so people wouldn't realize what had actually happened.

    Anthony Weiner did exactly that... only on Twitter...

  41. howdy · 857 days ago

    i just experienced one, when i open the home page, a script shows "waiting...." and it redirects to some other page, and the page is filled with useless stuff.....

  42. GARY · 856 days ago

    its true cause its happend to my two grandchildens facebook account and its making out its them sending it out to others its sick
    Facebook should do more about this

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.