tn_tinyman at end of Facebook URLs - Facebook Rumour

4 Nov 2011 - Article No: 1428. Filed under: Facebook Scams | Facebook Rumour

Facebook users have been reporting that the term "ref=tn_tinyman" has been suffixed at the end of their Facebook profile URLs.
e.g. https://www.facebook.com/youraccount?ref=tn_tinyman

As far as we can tell thus far, the first instances of this happening were around 3-4 days from the time of writing, but most popularly occurring within the last 12 hours from the time of writing. The phenomena is stirring up much controversy in the Facebook community.

This is what we know -

The tn_tinyman URL extension does not appear on most Facebook accounts. For those unfamilliar with Internet scripting, the ?ref=tn_tinyman actually means a variable called ref is being passed into the current webpage - most likely your profile page - with the value tn_tinyman - (look at the URL of this page and you will see something similar - the variable id is being passed to this page - view.php - with the variable 1428 - in this case to make sure you see the correct article. Changing the number brings up a different article)

This means the phenomena is almost certainly something to do with Facebooks inner workings - the social networking giant has been making major changes recently, including the soon-to-be-introduced timeline feature - so this is likely merely a temporary glitch - a symptom of the inner workings of Facebook. Changing the tn_tinyman variable to anything you want makes no difference to the way your profile page is displayed.

There have been NO verifiable reports that this phenomena is malicious in any way. It does not mean a Facebook account has been "hacked" and there is no evidence to suggest this has anything to do with the rumoured attacks by members of Anonymous.

The only people who can accurately tell us what the variable actually does is Facebook themselves, and thus far there is no word, nor is there guaranteed to ever be one. Of course we will keep you updated.

UPDATE: Nov 8th 2011

After several requests, we have dug a little deeper into this and have confirmed our initial suspicions that the tn_tinyman variable is actually just a symptom of Facebooks inner workings.
After taking a look at the source code of a Facebook profile page (the outputted HTML - or source code - is available to any user by right clicking on the webpage and clicking View Source or View Page Source depending on your Internet browser) it is apparent that the variable Tinyman is used several times to name CSS classes, which are in charge of formatting a page. Our best guess is that the ?ref=tn_tinyman is used to track a users activity - ref probably stands for referrer - and the source code reveals that the variable is used with other values as well, including ?ref=logo and ?ref=mb. What tinyman actually means is known only to the Facebook programmers who dubbed the name, much like most variables one would encounter whilst reading code not written by oneself.
It may not make any sense to those not familliar with web design or any programming background, but rest assured it is almost certainly a normal Facebook variable that is usually hidden but for some reason showing on many Facebook accounts. It is NOT a symptom of your account being hacked or compromised.

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