Facebook teaches users how to remove adware (video)

Facebook teaches users how to remove adware (video)

Summary: Facebook has released a video warning its users about adware. The social networking giant explains how to get rid of the malware from your computer and how to cleanup your Facebook account.

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Facebook Security has released a video informing the social network's users about malware that displays unwanted ads on the service. The company captioned the video as follows:

Is your profile or News Feed covered in ads? If yes, you might have adware. Watch this video to learn how to remove these programs from your computer and cleanup your account.

This is a rare move from Facebook's security team. The last post from Facebook Security, which described how the site's link shim works, was made almost two months ago. The only other video the group has posted was in January 2011: Using Advanced Security Features.

I'm not surprised that Facebook posted a video; it's more so the content that I find interesting. The official Facebook Page for Facebook Security has 5.9 million Likes, but almost all of the posts detail Facebook's security features and Facebook's moves in the industry towards improving the service's security and privacy.

I have no problem with this (in fact I commend it) but I would like to see Facebook Security use its Page more often to warn users about current threats. There should be posts weekly, or even more often, describing current scams and malware spreading on the social network, how to avoid them, and so on.

If that's not positive enough for Facebook, the company should instead post statistics on what scams it has removed this week, what they were called, and so on. Facebook is already transparent with third-party developers about bug fixes it makes and forum activity on Stack Overflow, so why not also have something relevant for users?

I have contacted Facebook to see if this video is part of a new trend to help users experiencing security issues on the social network, or if it's just a one-time thing.

Update at 2:30 PM PST: Facebook declined to comment on my thoughts above, but it did have more to say on adware.

"These programs claim to give users special privileges on Facebook, but obscure your profile and News Feed with ads that are not Facebook approved," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "In fact, over 90% of the ad complaints we receive on a daily basis are related to adware programs and the ads they display. These programs materially alter people's Facebook experience and bypass Facebook's quality and security controls. Additionally, adware programs make Facebook slower, cause user confusion and can obfuscate authenticate user content by displaying banner ads. To ensure the best possible experience for all our users and to maintain the integrity of Facebook's product we have asked users to remove these adware products from their browsers before returning to Facebook."

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Topics: Security, Social Enterprise

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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Talkback

4 comments
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  • Not everyone uses OSX

    Sigh, I hate seeing people make this stupid mistake alot in the tech industry where they think everyone is using a Mac and such use screenshots from OSX even though everyone else is using Windows.

    Point in case, the add on menu is accessed in Firefox by simply pressing Firefox> Addons in windows.

    In any case, yes they should post more stuff like this.
    Gavello
    • Using OS X

      I kind of like the fact that they used OS X. Too many Mac OS users think they are invulnerable so maybe using OS X in this video was done on purpose to show that just by using OS X does not mean you are safe.
      bobiroc
  • Instead of...

    Instead of showing people how to remove crap that shouldn't be there in the first place... How about hiring people to scan these ads before facebook mindlessly puts them up?! Oh, it's because they wouldn't make money then. 99.9% of the ads on Facebook are a scam anyway. Insurance sales, Ebooks on how to make millions over a weekend, and "your computer is infected scan?" WTF? Just scan these ads before making them live to your viewers.

    I think instead Facebook and other social media sites like Deviantart, Myspace (if anyone uses that anymore), Justin.tv, etc should be held accountable for the damages of the ads that they serve to the end users.

    (Or just get an ad blocker or modify your hosts to block ads... Simple.)
    Toque_3D
  • Facebook adware

    I know I have adware on my facebook since there are more ads than anything else on my page. I followed the instructions in the video but when I get to extensions there is nothing listed at all on that page. So now what do I do? How can I ever get rid of this? Maybe I should just cancel my facebook account? I am besides myself.
    azdesertgal@...