No, Facebook spies aren’t secretly “following me”, it’s a hoax

Did you know there are people literally watching your Facebook account?

Wait, did you say “No!”?!

Congratulations! If you are a) a Facebook user and b) haven’t been made aware that “There are people who have a specific duty to monitor your posts and activity,” then your friends haven’t fallen for the “following me” hoax, back again for Season 2 of Nope, It Still Isn’t True.

According to the nonsense debunkers over at Snopes, the hoax debuted in January 2017.

And, according to Facebook posts such as this one that have been gracing the social media platform over the past few weeks, the hoax is back – ready to spook Facebook users anew and send them flying to hit “Block” on a bunch of people it claims are spooks being paid to spy on us.

Facebook "following me" hoax

The post reads:

Did you know there are people literally watching your Facebook account?

Yes. There are people who have a specific duty to monitor your posts and activity.

While there are many Facebook secrets, for those who enjoy privacy, this one is for you!

The hoax instructs users to go to their account settings, click on blocking, rub their bellies while they hop on one foot, and check out a list of what the hoax writer(s) called …

[most likely] Facebook employees, spies, and private accounts that are paid to shill for who knows who (sarcasm (kind of)).

I made up the belly/hopping part. After all, sitting is the new smoking. You might as well hop on one foot: it’s better for your heart and it”ll do you just as much good as the other hoax steps if you want to protect yourself from internet surveillance:

The ever growing world police and nanny state extends to the virtual world too. In fact, it probably lives in the virtual world in an even greater capacity than the physical world, it’s just that the physical world gives us a different feeling and emotional reaction when we recognize it.

The “different feeling and emotional reaction” I get from a hoax like this is pain. It comes from the hair-root region of my scalp. Not to quibble with the assertion that we are in a world of heightened surveillance, mind you, but filling up social media with false positives makes things worse, not better.

The hoax wants us to enter the term “Facebook Security” into Facebook’s “block users” field, which will supposedly reveal a list of people whom the social network had engaged to furtively monitor our activity. We have to individually block each of them to prevent them from spying on us, it says.

The reality is that following the original hoax rendition’s instructions won’t uncover or block the fictional Facebook security personnel who are supposedly monitoring your online activities.

As Snopes reports, entering the term “Facebook Security” into the “Block Users” search box…

simply returns “profiles of [users] who have used those particular words somewhere on their profile [or] in a place that’s visible to the individual, as in a public post.” The list returned by this search neither includes people who are furtively following you, nor persons employed to spy on you by Facebook security.

A more recent, stripped-down version of the hoax drops the reference to Facebook security. Instead, it references “20 people (foreign) that were ‘following’ me on FB.”

It tells people to do the Account Settings > Blocking > Block Users > Rub Belly > Order An Anchovy Pizza stuff again, but this time instructs you to type in “following me” and then hit Go. Beware: you’ll still have to block each one individually, it says. Whew, that’s work: better order extra anchovies, since you’ll need protein to build up your blocking stamina!

In actuality, you’ll get a list of Facebook users with the two characters “me” somewhere in their screen names or profiles, not a list of accounts of people who are secretly following you.

If you’ve seen the “following me” hoax being circulated by your friends on Facebook, please let them know they’re being played.