Do not click! These are the Facebook hoaxes you need to avoid


Now that Facebook has billions of users, it also has billions lots of spam and hoax posts making the rounds. Unfortunately, these posts can look like normal status updates, and one click can spam your entire social network and give a scam a viral life. 

This problem isn’t going anywhere: In fact, these ploys are picking up – social media scams accounted for 53 percent of scams in 2012 – with a 42 percent increase in “targeted” dox attacks (attacking with knowledge of the victim’s personal information) says Norton Security. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up some of the recent Facebook hoaxes plaguing the social network that you should keep an eye out for and avoid. So check out what’s infecting Facebook and seriously, do NOT click if you see any of the following show up in your own News Feed. 

Farming Facebook likes

samsung giveaway facebook hoax

If you check out hacker forums, you’ll find endless resources attributed to farming Facebook likes from fake and real users. Let me start off by saying that there’s no one in particular that’s being scammed here. It’s probably the least direct “hoax” on this roundup, but you might wonder what’s the value in this strategy. Well Facebook likes, as simple as they may seem, are very, very important to marketers using the platform and they’ll stop at nothing to get them. 

This hoax is a simple one. Create a Facebook page that evangelizes a product, game, service, or whatever you can think of, going as far as suggesting that the page is endorsed by the brand that the page was created around, and amass followers. The “hoax” here is in the method of how these pages garner followers.

You might have seen Facebook Pages that host a giveaway – for example, a smartphone if the page is dedicated to a certain type of smartphone. Many of these hoaxes will end up asking for likes and shares (which attracts your friends) to participate in said “contest,” but the catch is that these contests aren’t actually giving away anything. There’s no prize in the first place. A quick Google search is really enough for these “farmers” to take a photo for the purposes of this faux contest. And to farm more followers, these false contests are published regularly or tend to suggest that it’s offering hundreds of products for these giveaways.

Now how much money is there in this? Let’s just say that marketers are out there with a bit of money looking to take these popular Facebook pages off of the creator’s hands for around $1,000 per 100,000 follower Facebook page.

Facebook will save starving children by donating $1 per share … except not really

facebook donation hoax

Tap into empathy and you’ll dupe enough people to make a quick buck. There’s a charity hoax going around, asking Facebook users to share a photo of a malnourished and sickly child, with the idea that every share will amount to $1 donated by Facebook to a charity.

Well, Facebook might be benevolent but it wouldn’t leave how much money a charity should receive up to its users. Trust us, the company has plenty of money to donate as it sees fit. 

The creators of the hoax are simply trying to accumulate likes and shares in a rather unethical manner, using random images of sickly children from the Internet. Since in some instances these photo posts might include a link to a certain webpage or Facebook page, you can see how it might drive traffic to a target URL rather quickly.

Celebrity Facebook hoaxes

joel osteen facebook

Celebrities have a lot to worry about unfortunately, with impersonators plentiful on Facebook and other social networks. And fans of these celebrities can be schemed out of their hard-earned dollars.

An elaborate hoax devised and executed last month resulted in a false Joel Osteen account that represented his point of view falsely, which indicated that he wanted to quit his ministry due to “lack of faith.” That of course was a false rumor drummed up by the creator of the fake Osteen account. But the scam didn’t stop there. As you know, ministries often ask for contributions or donations. Using that premise, the false Osteen account has reportedly made friend requests, offered jobs, and requested donations to Osteen’s ministry. In fact, Osteen is a particularly easy target and he’s been subject to a “dozen fake Osteen pages a week on Facebook for the past year,” reports the Houston Chronicle. 

Authenticate Facebook profile scam

facebook disabled account

This type of hoax is rather tricky to identify as a scam, although most of us know that Facebook would never try to “authenticate” a profile. However, the email, linked URL, and format look familiar to other emails you get from Facebook so it’s understandable that some users would fall for a message saying that their account has been disabled.

What’s really clever about this scam is that when you click on the URL of the webpage, the site looks exactly like Facebook’s login page. But when you type in your login information, what you’re actually doing is typing in and submitting your information to a hacker. At the same time, many of these scams will follow up with another page asking you to fill in your personal details including name, address, social security number, or other personal information depending on how bold the effort is.

Fake virus warnings

The great thing about social networks like Facebook is the potential for content to go viral. The problem is sometimes that content is malicious, and it can spread like wildfire. A new type of hoax that’s been picking up according to Scambook is a fake virus warning telling users to scan for a virus called “Archive (Windows Live)” that’s the “worst ever” virus known to man-kind. The duplicitous part of the scam isn’t only about the fact that the said virus doesn’t actually exist, and the viral nature of this hoax (it’s already affected more than 35,000 users), it’s the fact that users have ended up Googling the virus and/or downloading antivirus programs, not knowing that many users end up downloading faux “antivirus” programs. Fortunately by now, “Archive (Windows Live)” searches come up with articles that disprove the message and chalk it up to being a hoax, but that doesn’t mean that future hoaxes like this won’t show up.

Social Media

Nearly a million Facebook users followed these fake Russian accounts

Facebook purged two separate groups behind more than 500 fake accounts with Russian ties. One group had ties to Russian news agency Sputnik, while the other had behavior similar to the Internet Research Agency's midterm actions.
Social Media

Here’s how to save someone’s Instagram Story to your phone

Curious about how to save someone's Instagram Story to your phone? Lucky for you, it can be done -- but it does take a few extra steps. Here's what you need to know to save Instagram Stories on both iOS and Android.
Social Media

Invite your friends — Facebook Events can now be shared to Stories

Facebook is testing a way to make plans with friends to attend an event -- through Stories. By sharing an event in Facebook Stories, users can message other friends interested in the event to make plans to attend together.

Keep up-to-date with the best news apps on iPhone and Android

Are the days of traditional newspapers and broadcast news dwindling? With apps this good, maybe. Catch up on the latest headlines on any platform with the best news apps on iOS and Android.
Social Media

No yolk! A photo of an egg has become the most-liked post on Instagram

Until this weekend, the most-liked post on Instagram was of Kylie Jenner's baby daughter, which has around 18 million likes. It's now been knocked off the top spot not by a stunning sunset or even a cute cat, but by an egg.
Social Media

A quick swipe will soon let you keep bingeing YouTube on mobile devices

The YouTube mobile app has a new, faster way to browse: Swiping. Once the update rolls out, users can swipe to go to the next (or previous) video in the recommended list, even while viewing in full screen.

Starting your very own vlog? Here are the best cameras to buy

Any camera that shoots video can be used to vlog, but a few models stand out from the crowd thanks to superior image quality, ergonomics, and usability. When it comes to putting your life on YouTube, here are the best cameras for the job.
Social Media

Twitter extends its new timeline feature to Android users

Twitter users with an Android device can now quickly switch between an algorithm-generated timeline and one that shows the most recent tweets first. The new feature landed for iPhone users last month.
Social Media

YouTube to crack down on dangerous stunts like the ‘Bird Box’ challenge

YouTube already bans content showing dangerous activities, but new rules published by the site go into greater detail regarding potentially harmful challenges and pranks, including certain blindfold- or laundry detergent-based stunts.
Social Media

Nearly 75 percent of U.S. users don’t realize Facebook tracks their interests

Did you know Facebook tracks your interests, including political and multicultural affiliations? According to a recent Pew study, 74 percent of adult users in the U.S. have no idea Facebook keeps a running list of your interests.

It’s back! Here’s how to switch to Twitter’s reverse chronological feed

Twitter has finally brought back the reverse chronological feed, allowing you to see your feed based on the newest tweets, rather than using Twitter's algorithm that shows what it thinks you want to see. It's easy to switch.
Social Media

Twitter suffers privacy scare as bug reveals tweets of protected accounts

If you set your Twitter account to private and you have an Android device, you'd better check your settings now. Twitter says it's just fixed a four-year-old bug that flipped the privacy switch to make the account public.

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.