As we reported earlier in the week, a not-so-new Facebook hoax was doing the rounds, claiming that the site was intending to charge users.
Whilst many users quickly seem to have clued up to this and the copy-and-paste message seems to have all but disappeared, it’s far from the only one that keeps popping up.
To many, messages such as this are just a minor irritation. However, it seems to be indicative of a bigger problem as many otherwise intelligent people who just aren’t tech savvy, fall for them hook, line and sinker.
Really, these messages are just another form of spam and many have been around in one form or another for many years.
Accordingly, here are just a select few of the most recent Facebook spams and scams.
#1: “Please do me a favour and move your mouse over my name here, wait for the box to load and then move your mouse over the ‘Subscribe’ link. Then uncheck the ‘Comments and Likes’. I would really rather that my comments on friends and families posts not be made public, thank You! Then re-post this if you don’t want your every single move posted on the right side in the ‘Ticker Box’ for everyone to see!”
The facts: This actually stops users from seeing what their friends have posted, it has nothing to do with an individual’s privacy settings whatsoever and is, in fact, completely untrue.
#2: The sad and tragic story of 7-year-old Amy Bruce, a local child who is dying from a brain tumour. For everyone who copies this, the post promises that the Make a Wish Foundation will donate $7.
The facts: Poor Amy has been 7 years old and dying since 1999, when this story originated in the form of an email which users were required to send on.
#3: The ‘Here you Have It’ virus warning – this warns users of Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL and other web-based email services that there is a virus by a hacker called ‘life owner’. It says that if a user opens an email then they will lose everything on their computer.
The facts: This has been in circulation since around 2002, and whilst there is actually a virus called Here you Have It, the virus doesn’t circulate via email and certainly doesn’t have the ability to destroy everything on your computer. Similar emails have also been around for quite some time, which claim to destroy the boot sector of your hard drive, also falsely.
#4: The claim that hackers are posting pornographic films on people’s profiles which they can’t see. This says that a post will appear that is only visible to other people, but not the account holder themselves. It claims that comments are also generated on the posts and warns users not to click on it as it’s a virus.
The facts: “Nonsense,” says Graham Cluley of Sophos.com. “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.”
#5: The heart-rending tale of 52 thoroughbred horses which are to be sent to slaughter following the death of their owner, as his cruel son wants nothing to do with them. This claims that some of the mares are in foal and they can be obtained for free by dialling a number.
The facts: At the beginning of the year, this post had a grain of truth as 52 horses were abandoned in the US, although there is no evidence to suggest they were to be slaughtered. Since then, the message has been manipulated and evolved much like a Chinese whisper. It is untrue and completely irrelevant.
Of course, there are many, many more of these that propagate across Facebook and email. The worry is that those who are gullible enough to fall for them, will also be really putting themselves at risk by clicking on video links that promise to show them something ‘awesome’.
Such as the survey hijack that claims to show a spider living under a man’s skin.
All in all, it is to be hoped that eventually internet users will recognise such things for what they are, then we might begin to get somewhere in the fight against malware.