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Nobody is sending fake friend requests to your Facebook friends

Enough already with the Facebook messages. Nobody is sending out friend requests in your name.

So you can stop sending those warnings to everyone on your friend list.

This is one of those viral internet moments where everyone is getting swept up in worrying about security, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But it’s really just a hoax.

I’m sure almost every Facebook user got a message in the last few days that read, “Hi … I actually got another friend request from you 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. PLEASE DO NOT ACCEPT A NEW FRIENDSHIP FROM ME AT THIS TIME.

I copied that text from a Facebook message sent by my sister.

For the record, I haven’t received any fake friend requests this week, and I bet you haven’t either.

There have been instances of people’s Facebook accounts being cloned.

If it does happen to you, it doesn’t mean you were hacked. It just means someone copied information from your Facbook page to create their own cloned version.

Depending on your Facebook security settings, I could create a new Facebook account in your name, and even snag your profile picture so it looks just like your account. Then I could go through your friend list and send all those people a new friend request from the cloned account.

Why would anyone do this?

To send people messages that look like they are from you. Perhaps asking for money — telling your friends you are out of the country and had your wallet stolen — that sort of thing.

Facebook account cloning was popular in the past, but the amount of viral warning messages flying around Facebook recently is way greater than the actual number of cloned accounts.

So what should you do? Is there a way to curtail the potential cloning of your account?

Take this opportunity to re-examine your Facebook security settings. Make sure your Facebook friend list is not viewable to the public.

Even better: Open your Facebook privacy settings and make sure none of your Facebook page is viewable to anyone but your friends.


Jim Rossman writes for The Dallas Morning News. He may be reached at jrossman@dallasnews.com.

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