A viral video is circulating Facebook that claims many of the “Copy & Paste” Facebook messages we so often encounter on the social networking website are actually a ploy set up by “hackers” in order to access peoples Facebook accounts to get their details.
The narrator of the video – that was uploaded by a user named Antony Newby – asserts a number of times that copying and pasting those “please copy and paste” messages will allow hackers to access your account.
One of the reasons why Facebook accounts are being hacked / cloned. Please share. x
Despite the video’s (what we imagine to be) good intentions, the warning it tries to convey is essentially flawed from start to finish. The basic premise of the warning video is this –
1. Copying and pasting one of those “copy and paste” messages means hackers can find you on Facebook by searching for Facebook users who posted that specific message.
2. And when hackers find you, they can now access your account to steal your personal information.
However, there are a number of ways that this fails to make sense.
Firstly, if you do copy & paste a message on Facebook (even those annoying ones that ask you to) it doesn’t mean hackers (or anyone else) can find you, providing you have your privacy settings set to “Friends Only”, which of course you should have. Facebook Search will only reveal the statuses of people who have their privacy settings open to the public, and if you have your profile wide open to the public, you are indeed putting yourself at risk, but not because of anything related to “copy & paste” Facebook messages.
However the crux of the flawed warning is that if a hacker does manage to see that you’ve copied and pasted a message on Facebook by doing a search, he can then “hack” your account. But that’s just a baseless assertion. A cyber-criminal is no closer to compromising an account regardless of whether they have been able to determine if that account owner has copied and pasted a specific message onto their timeline.
We’ll concede that many “copy & paste” messages are annoying. But they are most commonly used to help spread hoaxes or sometimes just for a way to get attention. From what we can determine, there are no serious cyber-criminals who use them to compromise Facebook accounts.
An additional claim that hackers set up these “copy and paste” messages to determine who is “vulnerable” or “naïve” enough to get scammed is again a rather baseless assertion, and frankly, a little bit of a stretch. We’re certainly not aware of any criminals who operate in this manner. There are any number of ways to get a more accurate reading on whether someone would be susceptible to being scammed – for example, seeing if they’d accept a stranger’s friend request which would be a more accurate gauge which can be initiated in mere seconds without the hassle for checking if they will copy and paste a message.
Ironically, filming the “inside” of your Facebook account – complete with the identities of your Facebook friends – just like the narrator of the video did – is much more likely to get you on the business end of a Facebook scam than copying and pasting a message.
If you don’t want to get your Facebook account compromised, follow common sense advice. Apply strict privacy settings, don’t accept friend requests from strangers, don’t install Facebook apps you don’t trust, educate yourself about phishing scams and have good security software installed on your computer.
However, warning users to avoid “copy and paste” messages that will lead to their account getting hacked is just vague nonsense that will ultimately just cause more confusion.