It seems like everyone on my Facebook newsfeed this week is posting something like, “I’ve been hacked. Please don’t accept any friend requests from someone using my name and picture. It’s not me.”
As I began digging deeper, however, I realized something fascinating: The people sending these messages only believed they had been “hacked” when in reality their accounts were completely safe and no one had made a fake account in their name.
The confusion is the result of a joke in the form of a chain message that is circulating. The message states:
“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!”
This is a chain message that scares Facebook users into thinking they have been “hacked” and the only way to alert their friends is by following the directions, which really does nothing but forward the same message to everyone’s friends and thereby multiplying the number of individuals who mistakenly believe they had been “hacked”.
Even if there were multiple individuals making fake accounts in the names of others, “hacking” actually isn’t even the correct term: “Hacking” can best be thought of as someone “breaking and entering” another person’s Facebook account without permission. The correct term for unscrupulous people making fake accounts based upon another’s photo and name is “cloning” as the dishonest person is “cloning” your account.