“Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, has invented the word BFF,” are the claims circulating on Facebook. “To make sure your account is safe on Facebook, type BFF in a comment. If it appears green, your account is protected. If not, it is hacked.”
Soon after the news about Facebook’s involvement in privacy breaching made headlines around the globe, these rumours started circulating. Little wonder, thousands of users fell victim to it. Most of this came as a direct impact of the panic people had about their information being stored and sold by the social media site.
In 2017, Facebook had launched a feature that would automatically colour certain words, and add a short 2-3 second animation on your screen when you type those as comments or captions. Congratulations, Best Wishes, xoxo are some of these words, and yes, BFF is also one of them.
If the acronym does not turn green, it might mean that your Facebook is not updated or might signal a glitch. Also, if it does turn green, that is no guarantee that your account is perfectly safe.
One advantage of this rumour, though, is that it asks you to change your password in case BFF does not turn green. The claim is an advantage since it is advisable for you to change your passwords for emails and social media channels every six months or so.
Could this be a conspiracy to make you change your password? Maybe, but it’s certainly is not a test for the safety of your Facebook account.
If you want to know how you can protect your data on Facebook, read our story here.
This is certainly not the first time that innocent users have come across such false rumours. One of the most popular hoaxes in India is that of our national anthem winning the UNESCO award for the best national anthem.
A UNESCO official busted this rumour by writing, “We are aware of several blogs in India reporting this story, but can assure you that UNESCO has made no such announcement concerning the anthem of India or any country.”
Way back in 2009, the “Director of Facebook, Mark” posted a warning on Facebook claiming that using the social media site would cost money unless users sent the warning “post” to 18 other people. Their “icon” would then turn blue, indicating that no fees would be charged for that particular user.
A common thread among all the above rumours is that they urge users to copy, paste and forward the message(s).
According to Inc.com, there is a solid reason for it. Sharing posts make them susceptible to being deleted at one go. For instance, if a post is shared by a thousand people, and then the original one is deleted, it automatically deletes the link from all thousand posts.
In contrast, if a post is copied, edited and posted on a thousand profiles, it takes that much time and effort to get rid of the link from the social media site.
How about the case of BFF, where people are urged to comment rather than copy-pasting the post?
Well, the more people comment on a post, the more engagement is tracked by Facebook. As your engagement keeps increasing, Facebook automatically recognises the post as important and keeps pushing it up. It’s a great way to increase traction on your page or group, but maybe not the most ethical one.
If you come across similar “news” or posts that you are sceptical about, you can check out websites like check4spam, SM Hoax Slayerhttps://www.altnews.in/topics/news/ or Alt News to confirm before you react or forward it.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)