[Hoax Alert] To all my FB friends…I want to stay PRIVATELY connected…mouse over my name

hoax_alertOne thing is for sure on the Facebook platform, some scams and hoaxes never really die. They are just repackaged, resurrected and recirculated! The following message is based on a past hoax and has recently gone viral:

To all my FB friends, may I request you to please do something for me: I want to stay PRIVATELY connected with you. However, with the recent changes in FB, the public can now see activities in any wall. This happens when our friends hit “like” or “comment”, automatically, their friends would see our posts too. Unfortunately, we cannot change this setting by ourselves because Facebook has configured it this way. So I need your help. Only you can do this for me. PLEASE place your mouse over my name above (do not click), a window will appear, now move the mouse on “FRIENDS” (also without clicking), then down to “Settings”, click here and a list will appear. REMOVE the CHECK on “COMMENTS & LIKE” by clicking on it. By doing this, my activity amongst my friends and my family will no longer become public. Many thanks! Paste this on your wall so your contacts would follow suit too, that is, if you care about your privacy.

Alternative Message:

With changes in FB, everyone can now access information from persons who are not in contacts. All that is needed is for this person who is not in your list of friends to comment or click on “like” to access your information.

I do not want people that I have not selected as contacts on FB to access my information but I can’t change it myself.

……I ask you, therefore, 

to point the mouse on my name above (Don’t click), wait for the pop up, point the mouse again on “friends” (Don’t click). Then click on “settings” and remove the check mark in “Comments and Like”. Thus, my activity will no longer be in the public domain. Thank you!

First off, the message contains inaccurate information. There have not been recent changes to Facebook that allows the public to see activities on any wall. The privacy and sharing controls of the person sharing the item on Facebook determines the audience.

If you follow the instructions in the message, you won’t be protecting your privacy or that of your friend. The only thing you’ll be doing is unsubscribing from any of their Facebook comments and likes. This kind of defeats the purpose of being friends with them in the first place.  When the original hoax first hit, our friends at Sophos posted a detailed article as to why it doesn’t work. They also shared this important piece of advice:

It is not just your settings that control what goes in your Facebook newsfeed and appears on your friends’ tickers. Anyone’s posts which have privacy set to more than “Friends” will go to all the friends of all the commenters. This is a fact! We’ve tested it!”

The best thing you and your friends can do to protect your privacy is to set all of your privacy and sharing settings to ‘friends only.’ As we have mentioned in another blog post, sharing with friends of friends can potentially expose your post to almost 150,000 people! Also keep in mind that if you comment or like items that are public or set to ‘friends of friends,’ then your likes and comments are exposed to everyone who can view the shared item.

Spreading false information doesn’t really help anyone, and it can give your friends a false sense of security. Always spend a few minutes and check the facts before passing warnings along to your friends.

If you or your Facebook friends are falling for tricks like this, it’s time to get yourself informed of the latest threats. Be sure to join the Facecrooks community of over 215,000 fans on Facebook to be kept informed of the latest security issues.

Recommended Resources

SocialSafe helps you to create your library of you. It’s the safest place for your online life. Downloaded to your computer, auto organised and instantly searchable. Supports most major social networks.

PRIVATE WiFi® is a Personal VPN that encrypts everything you send and receive. Don’t access Facebook from a public WiFi hotspot without it.

BitDefender Safego is a Facebook application you can install that will scan your News Feed and help keep you safe from scams on Facebook.

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