Should you “share, share, share” the “urgent warning” that hackers are “posting sexual videos and pictures on your walls” that are completely invisible to you?
No, you should not sharedy-sharedy-SHARE-share-share, because this latest viral Facebook copy-and-paste-me warning is just another social media sneeze, spreading its hoaxy germs in spite of the fact that it’s been around, growing hair and getting debunked multiple times, since 2011.
I caught this variant on Thursday morning:
And here’s a fancied-up one, archived from its Facebook original, which was made by somebody who evidently thinks that yellow type on a red background gives the message an aroma of truthiness:
To all Facebook users!
Friends be careful!
This is serious!
Hackers are posting sexual videos and pictures on your walls! You don’t see them, but your friends do, then it seems as if you posted it. If you see any such garbage posted under my name, please let me know because
“I did not post it!”
Share this to protect yourself and your friends.
That post was picked up by Facebook’s false news bloodhound and reported on by Politifact, one of the fact-checking organizations that’s partnering with the social network to fight fake news.
It’s declaring the latest outbreak of invisible-to-you Facebook porn to be unsupported by credible evidence and that the warnings are vague and unsourced.
The alert is too vague to be a credible security warning and doesn’t detail how these hackers are getting into accounts, nor does it give any solution besides telling users to let someone know if they see this activity on others’ Facebook walls, which provides no permanent fix.
Gnarly old hoax
Snopes debunked a hoax that sounded very similar in August 2011. The current version has been improved upon by somebody or somebodies who’ve discovered that the caps lock on a keyboard can be turned off.
Here’s the verbose screamer that was making the rounds in 2011:
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! copy this in your wall. It is for the security of YOUR OWN IMAGE!!! And REPORT IT!!!!! ALSO IF U ARE ASKED TO VOTE ON A PICTURE. DO NOT GO & VOTE: IT’S A HACKER!! POST THIS TO YOUR WALL FOR YOUR FRIENDS
ATTENTION:THE HACKERS ALREADY ENTERED IN FACEBOOK & THEY ARE PUTTING PORNOGRAPHIC VIDEOS TO YOUR NAME IN THE WALLS OR PROFILES OF YOUR FRIENDS WITHOUT YOU KNOWING IT. YOU DON´T SEE IT, BUT OTHER PEOPLE CAN SEE IT, AS IF THESE WERE A PUBLICATION THAT YOU MADE! SO IF YOU RECEIVE SOMETHING FROM ME, IT’S NOT MINE! copy this in your wall. It is for the security of YOUR OWN IMAGE!
The surreptitious insertion of “invisible,” risqué films into other people’s Facebook accounts, unbeknownst to them but visible to friends, would turn out to be possible, but Snopes couldn’t find any verifiable samples of it with regards to that message above, which it deemed a hoax.
It did point out that images that appear to link to porno sometimes appear in compromised Facebook accounts, but they aren’t great at playing hide and seek: the posts are clearly visible to the account owners, Snopes said.
Those who are using social networking sites prudently therefore should not fear they’re about to unknowingly begin issuing porn video come-ons to their friends and family.
Just to confuse matters, in a separate, unrelated incident from mid-November 2011, Facebook users were hit by a for-real attack of hardcore porn, violence and animal abuse images showing up on their feeds, thanks to some clever social engineering and a browser bug.
What to do?
Given the lack of evidence, it would be a kindness were we all to tell people to stop posting, stop copying, stop pasting, and stop sharing this. Better still, please do ask people to delete these posts if they’ve fallen for the warning. As long as somebody’s posting them, they’re going to keep spreading, and who needs another eight years of this?
And while people are busy sharing fake news about made up problems, there are real threats to deal with. Facebook accounts are valuable to crooks and face real dangers like credential stuffing, phishing and untrustworthy apps.
Following the news that yet more crummy Facebook app providers have leaked millions of users’ personal data - why not review the FB apps you’ve got (including the ones you forgot about)?https://t.co/EhL73aeQz6 pic.twitter.com/SWZRfDjPR9— Naked Security (@NakedSecurity) April 4, 2019