You’ve seen them before… everyone has. Perhaps you were sent here by a person you know, because you yourself had one. The infamous crap that spans across the social galaxy and onto the walls of our friends, family, and even ourselves. The garbage that manifests to glorious numbers through the ignorance of millions of people who love to click on things they do not understand. I’m talking about the Facebook wall posts that tell you all about how some girl got killed because of some crazy reason, and that you must join this page, or group, or like something in order to find out more. I’m talking about the application that promises it will tell you how many page views you get every week, and the one that’ll tell you all about who is stalking you on Facebook. I’m talking about the lies of private app developers that make them a quick buck to steal your information, and use it against you and your friends. I’m talking about: The Facebook Virus.
The internet is a fun place. There is literally limitless possibilities with communication, and most of us cannot even fathom where the next innovation will come from, or what it might be. It’s so easy to communicate. That’s why the internet is so great, but it’s also the primary reason why it can be the most dangerous place in the world. People all over the web, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, MySpace (if you still use that thing), Yahoo, MSN, or whatever, are falling victim to spam, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. They see a link that says they can make $3,000 a day working with Google, from home, part-time… seriously? You believe this garbage? Sadly, many do. I’m here to set the record straight. Should you find any of your friends, relatives, neighbors, or some random guy you’ve never met but accepted as your friend anyways, falling victim to spam… Please knock some sense into them, and send them the URL you see right now at the top of your browser window. Avoiding spam is actually much easier then being caught by it. Let me help you now:
The Facebook Virus
The Facebook Virus isn’t actually a “virus” as it’s normally viewed, but It’s actions mimic that of a real virus. It is incredibly simple to avoid as well. For those of you who are my friend on Facebook, please try to think back to the last time you seen random spam running on my profile, or sitting on you profile, from me. You’ll be thinking for quite a long time, and eventually, you’ll have to stop because your brain will begin to press against your skull and you’ll develop a massive headache from the pressure it’s caused you. It’s simple: I don’t get Facebook Viruses. This isn’t because I use a Mac (which has absolutely nothing to do with it), or because I’ve created some magic plugin that stops it from happening (which is impossible). It’s because of one simple, basic human function that everyone SHOULD be doing: I pay attention.
My profile is spam free, and yours can be too! For just 4 easy payments of common sense! Let me elaborate on this, in a way that will perhaps allow you to understand:
Okay… does this look familiar? Pretty sure you have seen something similar to this before. Did you believe it? Does this seem like something that this person would say? Perhaps it does, I mean I don’t know your friends. For this example, let’s go with it. Let’s say that this sounds exactly like something your friend would say, and that you truly in your heart believe this is real. You would then, naturally, click on the link it says to click on, so that you can witness for yourself the effects of this Facebook magic that lay before you.
Another trick that seems to be getting people lately is what I’m calling the “secret Like button” which essentially is when the entire page (that you have been taken to) acts as a “Like” button. If you click anywhere on that page, you LIKE it, and it goes to your news feed.
This popular Facebook spam method is known as clickjacking. Clickjacking, sometimes called likejacking, happens when a user clicks on a link and is taken to a page with a hidden Like button. Friends see this and investigate the link, unwittingly propagating the spam when they click in that page.
Pages are a great way to connect with people outside your friend circle on Facebook. They are also a great way for spammers to gather people up for their ridiculous causes. Note to yourself… if a page requires that you LIKE it to see something special, it’s a Facebook Virus. If the app requests that you have to perform a series of steps in order to interact with it, such as liking it, then inviting all your friends, etc. then it’s not only spam, but it’s also going to attempt to get you to help the spam directly by spamming others. Seriously you guys, there is not one single page on Facebook that can actually tell whether or not you invited friends, and who they were. It’s totally against all Facebook policies for that to happen. Stop being stupid, and stay away from stupid apps. The easiest way to keep yourself out of harms way, is to NOT ALLOW apps that have no business posting to your profile, or Apps that shouldn’t need all of your information, have it anyways.
The easiest way to get rid of spam, is to BLOCK the applications that are causing it. I’ve been warning people for what seems like years about those applications that promise to tell you how many friends are looking at your profile, or which people are stalking them. It’s not real people! Think about what you are doing before you do it. I’ll say this in as plain of words as I possible can…
NO APP CAN TELL YOU PERSONAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR FRIEND’S ACTIVITIES ON FACEBOOK!
I hope that sinks in, because I’m really tired of that crap. Honestly I’m tired of all the Facebook apps out there. They are so pointless, and all they do is crowd the information I really want to know, with information that I hate…. like those “Quiz” apps or those “‘So and So’ just answered a question about you! Find out what they said here” type apps… give me a break. If it gets to me in your stupid questionnaire, just skip it… i don’t want to read about it, and it’s going directly to the SPAM filter anyways. I’ve got over 200 applications blocked on my account right now, and I’m adding more every day. Keep your information safe, and stop using stupid Facebook apps!
Facebook Chat Spammers
People who get access to your friends’ accounts (or yours) through these methods above now have access to all of your information, and can use your account to spam others directly. Facebook chat is a very reliable way of spamming your friends, because nobody could possibly be able to message somebody except the real person, right? Wrong. Spammers do this constantly. Again, use common sense to figure this out. Reply back to the chat message, but don’t click on the link. Ask them to verify that they are human somehow, or ask them a question they would easily know and see if they respond. Nine times out of ten, spammers won’t even respond. Notice how the link above starts with “apps.facebook”… that should be a clue right there! Even if it’s not, do you really think your friend would send you a link like that, to where you’ll need to “Give an App Permission to access your information” just like the warnings above did? No way.
Fake Articles with Controversial Images
“Something Unbelievable is here, and I can’t believe they let it on the Internet!” – This filth is going around all of the time. You see it on your news feed from your friends and family, and the part that you need to understand, is that they didn’t actually share it with you. They actually just clicked a link, which they seen on their friends’ walls. It’s exactly the same as what will happen when you click on it. The site will automatically spread to your page, and you WILL NOT get to see what they told you about anyways.
These things are dangerous. The best way to tell they are fake, is to simply hold your mouse over the link (DO NOT CLICK). If you take and look at the bottom bar of your browser, you’ll notice it will give you the path to whatever that link is pointing to. If you see that it’s going to a “shortURL” like bit.ly or tinyurl.com or t.co, or anything like this, it’s probably not safe. If you notice it leads to a Facebook Application, such as a web address starting with apps.facebook.com, then you should definitely stay away from it, before it steals your info.
If you see unbelievable articles, normally about something really creepy living under somebody’s skin, or some girl who got caught on her webcam by her own parents, or anything honestly trying to make you think you’ll see racy photos of any kind… it’s totally bogus. You aren’t going to see anything. You’re just going to be led to a page that’ll show you nothing, but instead will steal your info, and then paste that very same link onto your wall as well. Just do your friends a favor, and give them a link to this page here, so you can try to stop them from doing it to themselves.
Invited To Fake Giveaway or “Testing” Events and Pages
Many times when a hacker/spammer gets ahold of your account credentials, they’ll go in and create all sorts of interesting things to help their causes. This includes Facebook Fan pages or Events, which they can then invite all your friends to come join. Thinking it’s from a trustworthy person, friends are willing to buy into all sorts of things. It isn’t so much the content of an offer that will get somebody int trouble, but the source. Who something comes from often makes something more believable than what is actually there, and spammers love exploiting your friends with your account.
Most of the time, these con artists will pick a hot topic and run with it to get the most results. Topics like giving away free iPhones for example:
It’s important to understand that these types of offers, which promise to flat out give you something super secret and expensive, for “testing” purposes, are totally bogus every single time. YOU WILL NEVER RECEIVE ANYTHING EXCEPT A HEADACHE. PERIOD. There are a few ways you can tell this is fake. For starters, their grammar within the description is often poor, and full of mistakes, such as spelling “Facebook” as “face book.” Subtle, but it matters. Another way you can tell is that the link in which they want you to click (which you SHOULD NEVER EVER DO), is a link to a Facebook application, and not a page. There is no page. See the part with the red circle? That’s an app they are leading you to, which, as you can see from what we’ve already discussed, is a bad thing to go to.
Often times, to test such links, I like to right click them (secondary click, or a two-finger click if you are on a Macbook), and copy the link they want me to go to. Then I’ll open up a different browser, one that is not logged into Facebook, and then paste that link in the browser and visit it then. Without me being logged in, the place I’m going to cannot infect my account. I can then have the opportunity to see where that nasty link really wanted me to go. – It’s not to a page at all. Click below for a demo:
Got Infected… How Do I Fix This?
Many people get infected every day, and it’s not going to stop. Luckily, there is an easy way to put a stop to this digital influenza, at least as far as your own personal account is concerned: BLOCK THE APP! – You need to change your password immediately AFTER you Delete, or better yet, BLOCK the application that’s using your profile to spam people. Changing the password before you delete it won’t fix anything, because this app could have easily updated itself with your new password! Remember, you’ve given it permission to access your data at any time (which is stupid to do anyways).
You’ll need to BLOCK the app, not just change the password. This is easily done by navigating to your Account tab, and clicking on Privacy Settings. Once there, look down and to the left and click in the area that allows you to “Edit your settings” for “Apps and Websites.”
Once there, click the link that reads “Remove unwanted or spammy apps.” Facebook knows there is a lot of spam, and so they’ve conveniently nested the application settings page 5 levels deep into the site (can you sense the sarcasm here?).
Now you are ready to remove the spammy app. Scroll around until you see the name of the spammy app, then click the “X” on the right side of that row. A confirmation screen will come up, and you should then confirm your decision to get rid of that crappy app (My Countdowns is an example only. This app is NOT a spammy app, just for reference).
If you or someone you know has gotten their accounts overrun with stuff like this, send them this link and tell them to take control of their information on social media. Their friends will thank you as well.