Copy & paste scams

We have all seen these posts asking you to copy & paste some text. You are asked to copy & paste a post & not to share it. Why are we seeing more of this type of post, its to spread false or hoax messages around social media.

Many viral hoaxes seen on social media explicitly tell you not to share the message & will specifically instruct you to copy & paste it to your status instead.

If you share a post & it is discovered to be a hoax or a scam by facebook or other social media it is deleted, this also deletes every shared copy of it. If you copy & paste something it becomes a new version of the hoax or false news story & is seen by all of your friends & contacts. When the original is deleted the copy & paste versions are still left spreading false news & hoax messages around social media.

Messages that are copied & pasted are not subject to privacy settings. If a message on one persons account is subject to privacy settings it may not be able to be shared, it will however be able to be copy & pasted.

Example.

If 2000 people share a post & that post is found to be fake or a hoax by a social media company, it will be deleted & all of the shared posts will also be deleted. 

If 2000 people copy & paste a post & that post is found to be fake or a hoax by a social media company, it will be deleted but the 1999 versions of it that have been copied & pasted are all independent of each other & will remain on social media.

Warning about privacy settings on social media.

I often see or hear stories warning users not to share or copy & paste messages because it makes them vulnerable to hackers. There is no real reason to suspect it compromises your account security. Sharing such statuses doesn’t automatically put your account at risk.

However these statuses could highlight which users don’t have good privacy settings applied, since searching Facebook for a viral message will reveal all those users who shared it with public settings applied.

Try it out.

Most of these posts contain text something along the lines of 'I want to see who reads and who shares without reading it'.

You can search Facebook posts by clicking in the search box at the top of the page.

Click in the search box & type in the text highlighted in red above. Click on the magnifying glass to search for the text. When the results come back then click on the posts button.

You will then get thousands of posts returned all saying the same thing. This is at best viral marketing, the people who originate these posts have no real interest in the message just that they get their message out with no way for social media to be able to easily remove the message.

Facebook help on Privacy.

Facebook has very good guides on setting the privacy of your content & how to report suspected hoax messages you can see it here

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