Posted by: David Harley | February 15, 2017

Facebook Cloning – don’t panic!

Here’s a Facebook post I’ve seen people cut and paste a couple of times recently.

Heads-up!! Almost every account is being cloned. Your picture and your name are used to create a new face book account (they don’t need your password to do this this). They want your friends to add them to their Facebook account. Your friends will think that it’s you and accept your request. From that point on they can write what they want under your name. I have NO plans to open a new account. Please DO NOT accept a 2nd friend request from “me”. please forward to all your contacts.

Clearly this is the Facebook equivalent of a chain letter, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t true, does it?

Well, no: Facebook accounts do get cloned, but it doesn’t happen as regularly as this implies. Snopes – always a good resource for checking potential hoaxes and chain messages – classifies it as ‘partly true’ and includes this and three other examples of the messages that have circulated. David Mikkelson also points out that it’s far from new and doesn’t entail real ‘hacking’. Facebook Pirates – Warning alerts social media users that Facebook ‘pirates’ Facebook “pirates” perpetrate scams by setting up look-alike Facebook accounts that copy other users’ profiles.

Facebook users who make a lot of information about themselves public make it easy for a cloner to use images and information to set up a fake account. Several scams such as ‘Londoning‘ depend on the cloner being able to contact the friends of the owner of the genuine account. While you can’t eliminate the possibility of your account being cloned, you can lower the risk by reducing the value of your account to the scammer. You can do this by tightening your privacy settings: obvious ways of doing this include setting your account so that only friends can see your posts

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and no-one but you can see your friends list.

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Brett M. Christensen provides a longer analysis on Hoax-Slayer, and includes some useful advice on how to take those measures: Viral Facebook Post Warns About Facebook Cloning – Warning Is Valid.

David Harley

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