This article was inspired by a Facebook friend of mine who was tricked into displaying garbage on his Facebook page. My friend evidently saw a post from one of his friends that said something to the effect of “Check out this outrageous video!” It likely had an image that people of a masculine persuasion might find rather irresistible. My friend clicked the link and was presented with a “play” button to view the outrageous video.
However, there is no video. The “play” button is actually a disguised Facebook “Like” button. So when my friend clicked play, he introduced the scam to all his Facebook friends. The link often leads to online surveys that trick people into handing over personal information such as your cellphone number which will then be subscribed to a premium “texting service” that you eventually discover hidden in your phone bill. Nice, huh?
Another popular scam is an app that supposedly tells who viewed your profile. It is simply not possible to know who is viewing your personal Facebook profile. Period. I have lots of “friends” that I don’t even know on my Facebook profile. One of them installed this app recently. The app then posted a link on her profile that said that I had visited her page 500 times over the past day. She wondered why I had such an interest in her. I had to explain to this person that I really wasn’t a stalker and that she was scammed. I don’t know if she believed me or not.
Another one is the innocuous legal “disclaimer” I see many of my friends post. They usually crop-up whenever Facebook makes a major change to privacy settings. Many people then post a copied-and-pasted “LEGAL NOTICE” to their wall that states that “Facebook is expressly prohibited from sharing my blah, blah, blah.” This isn’t a “scam” but more of a silly hoax. From a legal standpoint, anything you post on Facebook belongs to Facebook and Facebook can do anything they want with it. From a practical standpoint, Facebook is not in the business of ticking off millions of users by abusing their legal power but the point is that they can if they so choose. You agreed to Facebook’s privacy guidelines when you signed up so if you don’t like it, tough cookies.
Another one is the claim that Facebook is going to start charging for their service. A convenient link is provided to make a payment. My readers are smart so I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that this is a scam. But it’s a scam.
So do yourself a favor today. Launch Facebook then click on the little gear in the upper right corner. Go to “Account Settings” then look on the left side of the page for “Apps”. Click that and remove any apps that don’t belong. If you don’t know what they are, remove them anyway. Then take a moment to scroll through your “liked” pages. You might be surprised that you like stuff you don’t like.
Jim Fisher owns Excel Computer Services in Florence. Reach him at www.ExcelAL.com