The message sounds so real. But once again, it’s a hoax that has gone viral.
An example we noticed in our Facebook feed:
“Almost every account is being cloned. Your picture and your name are used to create a new Facebook account. They want your friends to add them to your Facebook account. Your friends will think it’s you and accept your name. From that point on they can write what they want under your name.”
Sounds awful, but none of this is true.
What is true is that Facebook has been hacked many times. As recently as last week, the social network said some 50 million accounts were affected from the latest hack, concerning the “View As” feature that lets people see what their profile looks like to someone else.
“This allowed them to steal Facebook access tokens which they could then use to take over people’s accounts,” Facebook said in a blog post. “Access tokens are the equivalent of digital keys that keep people logged in to Facebook so they don’t need to re-enter their password every time they use the app.”
Of the new fake friend requests, Jeremiah Owyang, an industry analyst with Kaleido Insights, says these type of hoaxes have been a part of social media since the beginning. “I wouldn’t lose sleep over it.”
One bogus post, without being checked, can be reposted over and over again easily, which he thinks is what happened with the latest post.
If truly concerned though, the easiest thing to do is change your social media password, which experts counsel to do at least once every three months.
“The volume of these types of posts isn’t a good measure for how often impersonation is actually happening,” said Facebook. “For example, it is not accurate that “almost every account is being cloned,” as one of these posts claims.”
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