Spammers flood Facebook's own Help Center

Filed Under: Facebook, Social networks, Spam

Flood of spam on Facebook Help CenterSpammers have overrun the Facebook Help Center, clogging up the social network's self-help support forum to such an extent that it has become effectively useless.

Regular reader Sue brought the problem to Naked Security's attention, saying that multiple accounts were creating threads unrelated to support topics, but instead advertising websites which offer streaming TV feeds for popular sporting events.

As you can see from the screenshot below, it's hard to find genuine questions and answers in the Facebook Help Center when it's flooded with spam messages:

Facebook Help Center, with spam messages

The Help Center's "Search" section is particularly badly hit, but there are also threads of spam messages elsewhere in the community forum.

Here's an example of one spam messages posted on the site, advertising a service which claims to offer streaming coverage of an international cricket match:

The spam messages typically promote streaming TV websites

Naked Security reader Sue told us via email last week:

"Of course I have reported many as "spam" and I have sent one of the generic feedback forms, but I have little confidence that Facebook will even notice. Is there something that you can do, as a recognized organization with a presence on Facebook to let Facebook know of this nuisance?"

Consider it done, Sue.

By the way, this isn't the first time that spam has become a problem in the Facebook Help Center. Last November we reported a very similar attack.

As more and more people spend time on Facebook, it becomes an ever more attractive environment for spammers to try to spread their messages. Facebook's developers need to work hard to keep the community safe, blocking as much spam proactively as possible, and the site's security team needs to keep on the ball when offending messages are reported to them.

If you're on Facebook and want to learn more about spam, malware, scams and other threats, you should join the Sophos Facebook page where we have a thriving community of over 190,000 people.

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11 Responses to Spammers flood Facebook's own Help Center

  1. Richard · 787 days ago

    "... advertising website whish offer ..."

    That should presumably be "which".
    And it should either be "websites which offer" or "a website which offers".

  2. Dano Panariello · 787 days ago

    In unrelated news... The "Download Your Data" system has failed for weeks. Once generated, the link to download your FB data fails. I fear there might be an issue that could be exploited - but there's no easy way to report this to FB to fix.

    Try it out... you'll see what I mean.

    • Ryan · 787 days ago

      You are absolutely right. I've put in 3 requests so far and still waiting for the email notification that its ready. I wonder if its the same case in Europe because then it would violate EU privacy laws.

    • computationalerr · 786 days ago

      This is probably because they need to fix something so we cant download our data to have something to use against them.

  3. Bertrice · 787 days ago

    If Facebook would just write their own help files this would not happen.

  4. Robert Gracie · 787 days ago

    oh man I saw a similar thing happening on a different website I am on and its really annoying when they say you can stream it over facebook and I know thats a joke for starters because well Facebook will not allow it unless it comes from the BBC or NBC or whatever the big name companies are that will do this I wish Facebook could stop this happening...

  5. Sue SillyKitty Seiffert · 787 days ago

    Thank you for the article! I appreciate the response to my e-mail.

  6. TonyP · 787 days ago

    "to such an extent that it has become effectively useless." Even before it was overrun it was near to useless anyway. - just turn it off.

  7. snert · 786 days ago

    I consider FartBook worse than useless so I applaud this with both hands.

  8. Waffa Margus · 784 days ago

    no f-wonder they do not answer :P

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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.