Have You Been Cloned?
Facebook is warning users about a hoax message circulating on the social media site that claims their account has been cloned.
The scam also encourages victims to forward the message onto everyone on their friends list.
Facebook clone hoax – what's happening, and why are some people getting strange messages?
Facebook cloning is when someone creates an account and steals all your photos and personal information, then sends messages to your friends in order to extract personal information about you.
The scam message reads: "Hi.... I actually got another friend request from you yesterday...which I ignored so you may want to check your account.
"Hold your finger on the message until the forward button appears...then hit forward and all the people you want to forward too....
"I had to do the people individually. Good Luck!"
Facebook clone hoax – are you safe, and have you been hacked?
The important thing to note is that this message is "safe".
If you receive it, you haven't been hacked – it's simply an email chain letter designed to trick people.
Current reports suggest that there aren't any links or rogue instructions inside the hoax message, beyond a simple request to pass it along.
Also, this hoax is entirely separate from the recent Facebook hack that saw 50million users exposed to hackers.
Facebook recently admitted that it gave attackers complete access to user accounts – and was forced to log 90million users out to fix the issue.
Facebook clone hoax – what should you do?
The best thing to do is simply delete the message, rather than passing it on.
There's no benefit to forwarding the message, other than wasting your friends' time.
A spokesperson for Facebook said that there was no virus attached to it but anyone who receives it should delete it immediately.
They told The Sun: "We’ve heard that some people are seeing posts or messages about accounts being cloned on Facebook.
"It takes the form of a “chain mail” type of notice. People have told us that they don’t like seeing the same post that a lot of people are copying and pasting on to Facebook. So if enough people post the same long post, it could show up lower in people’s News Feeds.
"Claiming to be another person on Facebook violates our Community Standards, and we have a dedicated team that’s tasked with helping to detect and block these kinds of scams.
"We have made several recent improvements to combat impersonation, including image recognition technology, automation to detect scams, and improved reporting abilities.
"We encourage people to let us know about impersonating accounts using the reporting tools available here: https://www.facebook.com/help/fakeaccount. Our teams review each one and take the appropriate action—including setting checkpoints (which require you to provide additional information in order to proceed) or shutting down profiles if necessary."
Facebook hoax messages – is this a common problem?
Facebook has always been plagued by hoaxes – and it's not limited to the social network, either.
WhatsApp, which is also owned by Facebook, has had major issues with hoax messages being forwarded on.
Earlier this year, WhatsApp began telling users when messages had been forwarded on – and even limited the number of times you could pass a text on.
Brits recently saw a major hoax spread through WhatsApp, when a fake story about an imminent divorce announcement from David and Victoria Beckham spread on the app like wildfire.
The star couple denied the rumours, but it didn't stop gullible Brits passing on the fraudulent messages to all their mates.
A London PR worker is under investigation over the incident, after it emerged she'd helped spread false gossip.