A long-running useless warning that has been spreading on Facebook for years has now been attached to a partly genuine warning about watching out for suspicious YouTube links spreading across Facebook Messenger.
The warning is as follow –
Lots of hacking going on via Facebook and Messenger at the moment and now there is apparently a new hack on Facebook. It includes a hurtful phrase coming from you to one of your contacts. It’s nasty and appears that you have written it. You do not see it but your friends do. If you see or receive something shocking from me, let me know so that I can report it, and know that it’s definitely not from me.
There is also another hack/virus message that includes a youtube/facetube link with a comment referring to the recipient of the message to encourage them to open … DO NOT OPEN IT! As long as you don’t click the link you are safe, if you try to open you are then perpetuating the virus/hack.
COPY AND PASTE to spread the word
For those wanting a quick summary, the majority of this warning is either inaccurate, too vague to be of any use or just false. However towards the end of the message there is a legitimate – albeit confused – warning.
The first part…
The first part of this warning that describes a “new hack” that “includes a hurtful phrase coming from you” has been spreading across Facebook (in various formats) for years, and it’s almost completely useless. We’ve previously covered it here.
Given the poorly authored part of this message, it is difficult to determine exactly what threat the message is trying to describe. There are no “new hacks” on Facebook, but perhaps the message is trying to discuss the consequences of installing spammy rogue Facebook apps which can indeed result in your account sending malicious/shocking links by itself. Though despite the claims in the message, you are able to see these links (since you’re able to see all posts made by your account.) Installing malware or giving up your Facebook credentials in a phishing scam can also potentially give crooks access to your account to make unauthorised posts.
Whatever threat this part of attempts to describe, it does so poorly, completely fails to describe how the supposed scam works and we’ve never recommended spreading it.
The second part…
There second part warns of “another hack/virus” (it’s neither, really) that warns users to look out for youtube/facetube links and warns readers not to open them, else you are “perpetuating the virus/hack”. Despite the confused nature of this part of the message, it is loosely describing a real threat.
Despite being neither a “hack” nor a virus, there has been a surge in reports of Facebook users automatically sending malicious links to their contacts. In this most recent case, this is likely because users either entered their login credentials to a spoof website after clicking a link they received or because they had agreed to install a rogue Facebook app after clicking a link they received.
In either case, this could potentially lead to crooks being able to post from the users account, including sending messages to their friends list. We discussed this threat in more detail here, and we recommend giving it a read.
Honestly, this message is a bit rubbish. There are far too many inaccurate statements and vague ambiguity for this to really serve as an effective warning. If you do want to warn your friends with a more succinct and accurate warning, we could suggest…
Hey guys, watch out for suspicious links being sent across Facebook Messenger that mention you by name and appear to link to YouTube. These have not been sent with permission of the sender, and they lead to spoof websites that will either try and trick you into entering your login details or trick you into installing a spammy Facebook app, meaning you could end up posting the same link to all of your friends! Be careful out there – more information here…