According to a post currently going viral on Facebook, you should not follow a link that allows you to see what you would look like as the opposite sex or see what you look like as a bald person.
The post warns you not to “enter” these links because they are controlled by extreme hackers that can collect your information and sell it on the black market. By “links”, the post is referencing two popular entertainment apps that you can add on Facebook.
The message claims that, once you click the share button on Facebook, the hackers will have instant access to your personal details and the details of your friends and families will also be put at risk.
The post does raise valid privacy concerns associated with adding Facebook apps. There are certainly potential privacy risks when installing these types of apps on Facebook.
When you add such apps, you will likely be giving the companies that own the apps permission to receive and share some of the information from your Facebook profile.
The “opposite sex” app described in the post is distributed by an online entertainment company called Kueez. When you add the app called “What Would You Look Like As The Opposite Sex?”, it notes that the app will receive your public profile, birthday, photos and email address:
When you attempt to install the app, Kueez also sends you a private Facebook message that offers to help you find content you like:
But, you can opt out of this offered help by clicking the “No thanks” button.
Various other entertainment companies offer versions of the “what would you look like as a bald person” Facebook apps. When you install the apps, these companies collect and use your personal information in much the same way as Kueez does.
So, when you use apps like these you do need to be aware that some of the information available via your Facebook profile may be stored by the company and shared with other parties. If you do want to use them, take the time to find out what information will be collected and how it will be used before proceeding.
However, while the privacy concerns regarding such apps are valid, the circulating message below is exaggerated, misleading, and inaccurate and is therefore of quite limited use as a security warning. In fact, it will likely only confuse users rather than help them.
Secondly, the information collected is not clandestinely sold on the black market as claimed in the warning message. It is shared with other entities as publicly disclosed by the company. This sharing is not illegal as implied by the black market reference.
Thirdly, the company can only gain access to personal information that you have made available via Facebook. It cannot harvest sensitive information such as your banking details and account passwords like an “extreme hacker” would likely want to do.
And, finally, adding one of the apps does not automatically allow the company access to the personal details of your family and friends unless they add the app as well.
Moreover, it is probably a good idea to make your Facebook friends aware of the potential privacy issues related to the use of these apps. However, sharing the garbled, overblown, and inaccurate “warning” message below is certainly not a good way to bring your friends up to speed on the issue.
An example of the post:
⚠⚠ WARNING FACEBOOK ⚠⚠
There is a website link travelling around Facebook at an extraordinary rate which allows you “to see what you would look like as the opposite sex” and also one that lets you see what you look like “as a bald person”
DO NOT enter these links, they are controlled by extreme hackers who are now gaining control of people’s personal information and selling it on the black market. As soon as you have clicked share to Facebook it gives these hackers instant access to your own personal details and puts your family and friends personal details at risk.
⚠ PLEASE SHARE TO MAKE YOUR FRIENDS AWARE ⚠