This story was first published on May 16, 2011
Message warns users that have a Page on Facebook to watch out for links with the words “Visit The New Facebook” or “Tour of New Facebook” because following such links will allow a hacker to steal their information and remove them from their own page.
The message is too vague and misleading to be of any real use as a warning to Facebook Page owners. While users should certainly be careful of following unknown links, there is no credible information that describes a current security threat to Page owners like the one the message discusses.
FACEBOOKERS WARNING!!!!! PLEASE NOTE!!! If someone sends you a link with the words “Tour of new Facebook”, DO NOT OPEN! Or You can say goodbye to your page. It is a HACKER who steals your information or removes you from your own Page. Copy and spread it!!!
REPOSTING__THIS NOTICE IS DIRECTED TO EVERYONE WHO HAS A PAGE ON FACEBOOK: IF SOME PEOPLE IN YOUR PROFILE OR YOUR FRIENDS SEND YOU A LINK WITH WORDS “VISIT THE NEW FACEBOOK ‘ AND THERE IS THE LINK BELOW, DO NOT OPEN! IF YOU OPEN IT YOU CAN SAY GOODBYE TO YOUR PAGE. IT’S A HACKER WHO STEALS YOUR DETAILS AND REMOVES YOU FROM YOUR OWN PAGE. COPY AND SPREAD THE WORD!!!!!!
Yet another breathless “warning”, rendered in ALL CAPITALS perhaps in a misguided effort to give it greater impact, is circulating at breakneck speed around Facebook. This warning advises those who operate Pages on Facebook to be cautious of following links with the words “Visit the New Facebook” in them. A newer version changes the words to watch out for to “Tour of new Facebook”.
The messages warn that following a link will allow a hacker to steal the Page owner’s details and remove him or her from the Page.
However, there is no credible information about a current threat like the one described in these warnings. While the warnings have circulated continually since at least May 2011, I am yet to see one of the actual ‘Visit the New Facebook’ or ‘Tour of new Facebook’ scam messages that the warnings describe. The message is simply too vague and misleading to have any real merit as a warning for Facebook Page owners.
Certainly, Facebook Page owners, like all users of Facebook, should be cautious of blindly clicking links in messages without knowing where they lead. However, the warning makes no attempt to describe exactly how the supposed ‘hacker’ manages to hijack the Page if a user does follow the link.
Scammers have used links to fake Facebook web pages as a means of tricking users into supplying their login details. Other scam messages may contain attachments or links to websites that harbour malware that once installed, could collect information such as Facebook login details and post it back to Internet criminals. And many rogue app survey scams distributed on Facebook try to entice people to follow links by offering what they claim are new Facebook features such as Dislike buttons or Profile Trackers.
However, this warning suggests that just the act of clicking the link will – by itself – be enough to allow the ‘hacker’ to immediately take control of the user’s page. But, as noted earlier, there are no reports that such a dangerous attack is currently underway. Moreover, if such an attack were currently taking place, not only Facebook Page owners would be vulnerable. Presumably, an attack like the one described could steal Facebook login details from any Facebook user that clicked the link, not just those who owned Facebook Pages.
In order to protect themselves, Facebook users and, in fact, all users of the Internet, should constantly remain vigilant for the many and varied security attacks that they may face. However, reposting vague and garbled security warnings such as these will do no good whatsoever.