Issue 116 - July 2011 - Page 7
Overblown Facebook Warning: Remove All Profile Pics With Kids
Message warns Facebook users that they should remove any profile picture containing children because people are stealing such pictures and using them in sex advertisements. A later version tacks on an example Facebook page where such activities are supposedly taking place.
The warning is overblown and misleading. Reposting the message will do no good. (Please read the detailed analysis below for more information).
Detailed analysis and references below example.
Last updated: 23rd June 2011
First published: 21st June 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer
EVERYONE WITH KIDS IN THERE PROFILE PIC PLEASE REMOVE, PEOPLE ARE STEALING PEOPLES CURRENT AND PREVIOUS PICS NO MATTER HOW HIGH YOUR SECURITY IS AND POSTING THEM ON PAGES ADVERTISING THEM FOR SEX AND A WHOLE LOT OF OTHER STUFF
PLEASE REPOST THIS EVERYWHERE AND DELETE YOUR PROFILE PIC NOW!!!!!!!
IF YOU DNT BELIEVE THIS THEN GO LOOK ON THE BUY AND SELL "PERTH BABY GEAR" PAGE. THIS INST A JOKE!!!
According to an “urgent” ALL CAPS warning that is currently rocketing around Facebook, users should remove any Facebook profile pictures that feature children because such images are being systematically stolen and used on other pages to advertise the depicted children for sex. The message advises users to delete their profile picture immediately as well as send the warning to other users so they will also be aware of the danger. A later version of the “warning” tacks on a supposed example of a Facebook page where such activities are said to be taking place.
However, the warning is a misleading and over-the-top reaction to an online privacy issue that has long been a fact of life for Internet users. Of course, given the nature of the Internet, there is and always has been the possibility that pictures you post online will be stolen and misused without your knowledge or permission. This potential for misuse is nothing new and is certainly not confined to Facebook.
Moreover, if nefarious individuals wanted to steal images of children to use on sexually orientated websites, then there would be no need whatsoever for them to troll through Facebook profiles looking for pictures that suit their needs. A very simple Google image search would provide them with literally hundreds of thousands of pictures of children, a great many of which are likely to be larger and of a much more professional quality than those available on people’s Facebook profiles.
It is possible that the warning is a garbled and misleading reference to a recent case
in which a man hacked into a number of Facebook accounts belonging to young women, stole photographs stored there and in at least one instance, reposted some of the photographs on a sexually explicit website. However, these victims were not children and the perpetrator deliberately hijacked their accounts to gain access to their personal information. He did not simply take their profile pictures and repost them elsewhere as suggested in this warning message.
The original version of the message did not include any specific information about where the allegedly stolen profile pictures were being posted. However, a later version tacked on the claim that evidence of such activities could be seen on the Buy and Sell Perth - BABY GEAR Facebook page. Information about the “BABY GEAR” Page also circulated as standalone warnings well before it was added to the above “profile picture stealing” warning.
In reality, the BABY GEAR Page did not actually offer any confirmation that the warning is valid. The BABY GEAR Page was certainly taken over by Internet “trolls” who posted a series of inappropriate messages and photographs along with a great deal of pointless and juvenile nonsense. Unfortunately, it appeared that nobody was controlling what was being posted to the page and, for a time, the trolls enjoyed full reign. Thankfully, it appears that the original BABY GEAR Page has now been removed.
Internet users should keep in mind that any images or information they post anywhere on the Internet may potentially be taken without permission and used inappropriately. Thus, rather than take heed of the garbled advice outlined in this rather silly and certainly overblown “warning”, people should constantly use caution and common sense when posting images online, especially when the pictures depict children. And, of course, users should check that the privacy settings of their social media accounts are suitable for their requirements and ensure that they have the knowledge to protect their computers and online accounts from phishing and malware attacks.
But, sending on silly “warnings” such as the one shown above is not helpful and will do nothing other than clutter social media pages with even more breathless nonsense.
Hacked Facebook accounts, stolen photos
Pages in this month's issue:
- Amazing Hand Paintings – The Work of Artist Guido Daniele
- F-Secure 'Security Maintenance' Password Phishing Scam
- No Ordinary Bus - Robert Mugabe's Luxury Bus Protest Message
- Rugby World Cup Advance Fee Lottery Scam
- South African Giant Rats Risk Alert
- McDonald's 'Free Dinner Day' Malware Email
- Overblown Facebook Warning: Remove All Profile Pics With Kids
- Exhibit B-5 Viral Video - Girl Gets Hit By Car After Prank Goes Wrong
- Sheikh Zayed House Hoax
- Lightning Storm Meets Volcanic Eruption Photos
- Facebook Warning - Applications Sending Porno Messages in Your Name
- Paypal 'Strange IP from a Different Location' Phishing Scam
- Black Van Child Abduction Alert - Number Plate Ending With 03A
- 'New Way to Hack Your Face Book' Warning Message
- Western Union 'Too Many Login Attempts' Phishing Scam
- Domain Name Application Scam
- Direct TV Treatment of Joplin Tornado Victims Protest Message
- Diversity Visa Lottery Green Card Scam
- Becoming a Father or Mother Facebook Group Pedophile Warning Hoax
- Elephant 'Road Rage' in South Africa