According to this rapidly circulating Facebook message, you can find and block strangers who are following you via Facebook’s “blocking” function.
The message instructs you to access the “Blocking” section in your Facebook settings and enter the words “Following Me” into the “Block Users” field.
Supposedly, the list of people that the search reveals are strangers that are following you without your knowledge. The message advises you to block each of the people on the list.
But, the claims in the message are utter nonsense. Using the instructions outlined in the hoax message will certainly not reveal a list of people who are following you. And, unless you are already friends with the people on the list or post publicly, they can not see everything you post as claimed.
Instead, the search simply displays a list of random Facebook users who just happen to have the words “following” or “following me”, “me”, or combinations of these letters, words or phrases somewhere on their profile.
For example, one of the users on the list that my test revealed had the phrase “following my passion” in his profile intro section. The intro of another profile stated that the user was intent on following her own rules. Many other profiles on my list simply had the letters “me” either in their name or somewhere in the text of their profile.
If you allow people to follow your public posts, these people will show on your “Followers” list. And, of course, people who are friends with on Facebook are automatically following you.
But, unless the people revealed when you carry out the steps described in the message are your friends or are in your official Followers list, they are not following you, and have no connection to your account whatsoever.
In fact, this message is just the latest in a long line of very similar – and equally spurious – “security” warnings that have falsely claimed that entering a particular word or phrase into Facebook’s block field will reveal a list of sinister strangers up to no good.
As well as being misleading nonsense, this latest version also has a racist undertone. It claims that all of the people on the list had “foreign sounding names”, the implication being that such people were somehow more dangerous because of their supposed “foreignness”. Of course, whether or not a name sounds “foreign” is entirely dependent on where you happen to live in the world.
Passing on nonsense such as this helps nobody. If one of these hoax messages comes your way, do not copy and paste and pass it on to your friends as instructed. Instead, inform the person who posted it that the message is a hoax.
Examples of the hoax:
This is creepy. Go to your Facebook account settings, then blocking, then block users, and type in “following me” without the quotes into the text box then hit the “block” button. You will find 15-20 or more people
FOLLOWING YOU that you do not know! I just blocked about 17 accounts from random Middle Eastern and Asian countries that were following me, who I do not know. You have to block them one at a time. Check your followers and tell your friends and family to check theirs as well. Feel free to share this or copy/paste. This is not a joke. How many foreign “followers” did you have?
RECEIVED THIS MESSAGE FROM COLLEAGUE. I HAD COMPLETE STRANGERS FOLLOWING ME
I have literally just deleted 8 people that were not my friends on here – they were all with foreign sounding names – but they were following me and able to see everything I posted!!!
To block them do the following:
Go to your account settings
Go to Blocking
Go to Block Users
Type in “Following Me” without the quotes and click “Block”
A list of people will come up that are currently following you. You have to click block on each persons name so it will take time but I’m glad it’s done.
Copy and paste to pass it on..
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!