A rather bizarre “warning” message is currently circulating on Facebook. The message warns you not to accept a friend request from one Williams Sarah because she works for Facebook and will remove your account. It further claims that the Williams Sarah account is fake. It asks that you pass on the information to everyone you know so that they will be able to save their accounts from the dastardly Williams Sarah.
An example of the ‘warning’ message:
There is a Williams Sarah don’t accept her request she works for facebook she will report you and remove your account she is a fake account pass this on to everyone you know to save their account to
However, the message has no merit whatsoever as a warning and sharing it will help nobody.
The message may be loosely derived from a string of earlier hoaxes that falsely claimed that just accepting a friend request from a particular user will allow hackers to take control of your computer. In reality, even the most skilled hacker cannot take control of your computer just because you accept a friend request and these warning messages should not be taken seriously.
While these earlier “hacker” versions were silly enough, the Williams Sarah variant reaches a whole new level of stupidity.
The message first suggests that Williams Sarah works for Facebook and will report you and remove your account if you accept her friend request. But the message fails to explain why a Facebook staff member would send you a friend request and then both report and delete your account. If said staff member had the necessary authority to remove your account, she would not need you to accept a friend request first. And, she would not need to report your account for possible removal since she would be effectively reporting it to herself.
The message then gets even more illogical. After first claiming that Williams Sarah works for Facebook, the message then completely contradicts itself by claiming that the account is fake. If she really worked for Facebook, then why would her account be fake?
It is possible that the message is an utterly inept attempt to warn users about a scammer who is simply pretending to work for Facebook and simply threatens to remove accounts if the users don’t comply. Of course, such a scammer would not really have the ability to delete your account. Some phishing and advance fee scam attempts may have such characteristics.
And, certainly, it is unwise to arbitrarily accept friend requests from strangers because some of them might be scammers or spammers.
But, the Williams Sarah message is so contradictory and illogical that it is virtually useless as warning against any sort of real Facebook security threat.
Moreover, considering that both “Williams” and “Sarah” are quite common names, there are in fact a great many Facebook users that have a combination of the two names. So, this pointless “warning” will only cause confusion and may have a negative impact on users who share the name.
If you receive this message, do not share it with others. And, let the person who posted it know that the message is a hoax.