We clear up some confusion about Facebook messages that ask you to “copy and paste” them and discuss the accusation that they put your Facebook account at risk.
Most Facebook users will have encountered at some point a Facebook message that asks them to “copy and paste” the same message to their own status. Many even urge Facebook users not to share the message, but explicitly claim they must be copied and pasted.
Such “copy & paste” messages can be used to carry many types of messages. For example, messages designed to raise awareness for a cause. They can be used to pass on warnings. And, perhaps most commonly, they are used to spread hoaxes or misleading messages.
More often than not, they are an annoyance. But will copying and pasting these messages put your Facebook account at risk?
Despite rumours to the contrary, the answer is no.
Many rumours and warnings have asserted that this is a way cyber crooks trick Facebook users into compromising their own security. However, posting a status update, regardless of whether it’s a “copy and paste” status or not, doesn’t given anyone access to your Facebook account. Nor is there any evidence to suggest that it makes you the target of any particular scam.
Of course such messages can be used to spread hoaxes, or even scams. For example, the message could potentially include a link to a dangerous website, in which case posting these messages to your status is strongly advised against.
Other rumours have claimed that posting these messages can make you the target of a scam since crooks can search for those users who posted a message by using Facebook Search. However these rumours make little sense, and since we recommend Facebook users keep their status updates “friends only”, any user who heeds that advice wouldn’t appear on any such search, anyhow.
Copy and paste messages are usually annoying, and they are often linked to the propagation of hoaxes. But they don’t invalidate or compromise your security. Crooks need your password to access your Facebook account, and copying and pasting a status does not give them that information.
If you want to know why some copy & paste messages insist on not sharing the post, we answer this question here.
To ensure you keep your Facebook account safe, we always recommend using a strong password that is unique to Facebook, keep your Facebook privacy settings strict and consider enabling login approvals.