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Issue 137 - August 2012 (2nd Edition) - Page 37

False Warnings - 'Cleaning out Friends List' Questions on Facebook Contain Viruses or are Posted by Hackers

Issue 137 Start Menu

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Outline
Circulating messages warn uses that questions about cleaning out friends list appearing on Facebook contain viruses or are posted by hackers.



Brief Analysis
The "cleaning out friends" list messages do not contain viruses, nor are they posted by hackers. They are simply messages posted via Facebook's "Questions" application that have "gone viral". The questions are harmless, albeit rather annoying.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.



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Last updated: 25th October 2011
First published: 25th October 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Examples
watch out for this message its a VIRUS!!

GOING TO BE OFF FOR A FEW DAYS, SOMEONE REPORTED ME AS ABUSIVE, SO I NEED TO KNOW WHO STILL WANTS TO BE MY FRIEND AND NEIGHBOR. PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT. SO I KNOW NOT TO DELETE YOU FROM MY FRIENDS LIST I WILL BE BACK LATER TO CHECK AND TAKE NOTE OF WHO COMMENTS THANKS TO ALL MY DEAR FRIENDS SORRY BUT THIS IS NECESSARY

there is a virus in one of my updates about cleaning up my friends list do not open this

THIS A VIRUS!!!!! DONT OPEN !!!!!!!!!!!!!
"I am cleaning up my Facebook friend list. Please let me know if you wish to remain active by answering YES. Any other answer (or lack of) will result in removal."

What is this message i keep seeing about cleaning up my Facebook friends? I was told that it was hacker!!!! IS this true?




Detailed Analysis
Cleaning out friends list question
A large number of messages are currently appearing on Facebook that claim that users are cleaning out their friends lists. As the screenshot to the right reveals, these questions typically ask if recipients wish to remain on the user's list.

At the same time, various other messages are also circulating that warn users about supposed security risks pertaining to these "cleaning out friends list" questions. Some claim that the messages are viruses that, if clicked, will infect the participant's computer. Others claim that answering the question will give hackers access to the user's computer. However, all such warnings are false and should not be taken seriously.

The messages are in fact nothing more than queries posted via Facebook's Questions app that have inadvertently circulated far afield of the original poster's circle of online friends. These Questions have "gone viral" because they include an "Ask Friends" button. Users who click "Ask Friends" can share the same question with all of the people on their own Friends list. And, if someone votes in one of the polls, a message about the vote is posted on their news feed, often leading the person's friends to believe that he or she was the one who posed the question in the first place. Many of the questions have therefore spread far and wide, sowing confusion and concern as they travel and sometimes collecting hundreds of thousands - or even millions - of votes along the way. Since it is not always clear where the questions originated from and why they have suddenly appeared, some users have wrongly assumed that the messages are malicious. Such false assumptions have given rise to many false and misleading warnings about the questions.

In truth, these questions are completely harmless, albeit rather annoying. Unfortunately, reposting false warnings about such questions has served only to spread further confusion and concern as well as clutter Facebook with even more pointless nonsense. If you receive one of these bogus warnings, please do not repost it. And let the sender know that the claims in the warnings are incorrect.

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Facebook Questions
Random Facebook User's Question Gets Four Million Votes


Previous Article

Issue 137 Start Menu

Pages in this issue:
  1. Anti Text-Driving Message - Car Wedged Under Truck Image
  2. Nationwide Phishing Scam Emails
  3. Faux Image - Double Sunset on Mars
  4. Microsoft Cyber-Crime Department Phishing Scam
  5. Does A Photo Depict A Puppy Being Forced to Drink Vodka?
  6. Post Circulating Claims Hotel Made Disabled US Veteran Crawl Down Stairs
  7. AFL vs NRL - Wrongdoings of Australian Members of Parliament Hoax
  8. Three.co.uk Phishing Scam
  9. Another Facebook Sick Baby Hoax - Baby With Brain Cancer
  10. Circulating Opinion Piece - 'Democratic, Republican Liberal-Progressive's Worst Nightmare'
  11. Fake Three (Or Seven) Headed Snake Image
  12. Misleading Health Advice Email - 'Mayo Clinic on Aspirin and Heart Attacks'
  13. Facebook Survey Scam - Free Argos Gift Card
  14. 'Email Deactivation Warning' Phishing Scam
  15. Anti-Obama Youtube Video Compiles Multiple Conspiracy Theories
  16. Fake AT&T Bill Emails Point To Malware
  17. Messages Claim Coca Cola to be Banned In Bolivia
  18. 'Free Apple Product' Text Message Survey Scam
  19. Circulating Warning - Facebook May Close Down Animal Rescue Account'
  20. 2012 FIFA World Cup Online Lottery Advance Fee Scam
  21. Email Claiming US Gold Medal Gymnast Gabrielle Douglas Faces Lifetime Ban Used to Spread Malware
  22. Bigpond Security Service Phishing Scam
  23. Wrestling Star John Cena is NOT Dead
  24. Hoax - NASA Predicts Total Blackout of Planet in Dec 2012
  25. Wrestling Star Undertaker is NOT Dead
  26. Colin And Chris Weir Donation Programme Advance Fee Scam
  27. US EPA Regulations Force Power Plant Closures
  28. 'View Facebook Followers' Scam Targets Twitter Users
  29. Lloyds TSB 'New Banking Authentication' Phishing Scam
  30. Faux Image - Pilots Protesting Chemtrails
  31. Telstra Bill Account Update Phishing Scam
  32. McDonald's Signboard Supporting Chick-Fil-A
  33. ABSA 'Authorized EFT Payment Received' Phishing Scam
  34. Hoax Picture - Obama Holding Phone Upside Down
  35. 'eBay Item Not Received' Phishing Scam Email
  36. Wells Fargo 'Security Check' Phishing Scam
  37. False Warnings - 'Cleaning out Friends List' Questions on Facebook Contain Viruses or are Posted by Hackers