Pranksters are nothing new in the world. Children have been making silly phone calls since the early days of the telephone. Who could forget classics like, "do you have Prince Albert in a can?" With the punchline, "well, you'd better let him out."
Kids trying to have a laugh with prank calls like that were always corny but no harm was intended. Pranks and hoaxes still happen to this day, unfortunately, some of them are more malicious than those from days past.
There's actually a hoax circulating on Facebook right now that you need to know about. Don't forget to share this article with family and friends so they're also aware. Simply click the share button on the left-hand side of the article to post it to Facebook.
What's the latest Facebook hoax?
If you're an active Facebook user, you might have already seen the latest hoax making the rounds. People are being urged to copy and paste a message claiming that Facebook is going to limit the number of friends' status updates that you can see in your News Feed to 25. Here is one version of the message that's been shared:
"The new algorithm controlling Facebook's news feed now shows only posts from the same few people, about 25. Their system chooses the people to read your posts, but I would like to choose for myself. Therefore, I ask you a favor, please, right now...Leave me a quick comment, a 'hello,' a sticker, whatever you want - don't just 'like' - post something - so you will appear in my news feed. I have some interesting news coming and want to make sure it reaches you."
Users are then asked to copy and paste the message onto their News Feed. Believe it or not, this is actually spreading like wildfire.
Spoiler alert: this message is a hoax! Facebook is not limiting the number of friends you can see on your News Feed. In fact, Facebook has already addressed this with the following statement.
It reads, "Friends don't let friends copy and paste memes, and this one simply is not true. We rank News Feed based on how relevant each post might be to you, and while we've made some updates that could increase the number of posts you see from your friends, your News Feed isn't limited to 25 of them."
This isn't the first time we've seen misinformation circulating on Facebook. In many cases, the originators of the hoax are actually spreading a like-farming scheme.
Like-farming is when scammers post an attention-grabbing story on Facebook for the purpose of cultivating likes and shares. Based on the way Facebook works, the more likes and shares a post has, the more likely it is to show up in people's News Feeds.
This gives the scammer more viewers for posts that trick people out of information or send them to malicious downloads. The story they originally post typically has nothing dangerous about it. Only after the post gets a certain number of likes and shares does the scammer edit it and add something malicious.
If you see fake posts like this on your News Feed, report it to Facebook. That could help stop it from spreading more widely.
Here are the steps to report a post:
- Click the downward pointing arrow in the top-right corner of the post.
- Click Report post or Report photo.
- Select the option that best describes the issue and follow the on-screen instructions.
How to handle like-farming scams
There are many scams on social media and most of them can be used for like-farming. Typically, you'll see a post that asks you to like and share it so you can win something.
It isn't just posts either; it can also be pages. A scammer might set up a page for "I love kittens" or what appears to be a legitimate company or organization.
Just enough content is posted to get a ton of likes, then the scammer switches the content for spam and/or malicious links that could infect your gadget. Once you've liked the page, everything new the cybercriminal puts up goes on your News Feed, and in some cases, your friends' feeds as well.
Follow these tips and they will help you avoid Facebook like-farming scams:
- Your best bet is to be very judicious about what you like and share on Facebook. Don't just reflexively click "like" on everything.
- Take a look at where the post is coming from. If it's from someone you don't recognize, it could be a friend of a friend or it could be a complete stranger. It would be good to find out.
- Notice the content and whether it promises anything for liking or sharing. If it does, it's a good clue that it's a scam of some kind. The same goes if you feel pressured into clicking like or share.
Have a question about Facebook scams or anything related to technology? Kim has your answer! Click here to send Kim a question, she may use it and answer it on her radio show.
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In other news, finding your favorite CDs is about to get more difficult
I'm always raving about how technology has changed our lives for the better over the years. I can't imagine going back to the time before smartphones. Having the power of basically a personal computer always at your side is just so convenient. Unfortunately, there are times when flourishing new tech does have some negative impacts on things that are near and dear to our hearts. That's actually happening now with music CDs nearly impossible to find.