How to keep Facebook spammers from hijacking your wall

How to keep Facebook spammers from hijacking your wall

Summary: Did you know that spammers can spam many of your Facebook friends using YOUR wall? Here's how to stop such behavior.

SHARE:

Quite often, Facebook spammers net a considerable amount of clicks using a simple technique that few seem to be aware of: news feed hijacking. The end result is your Facebook friends seeing what looks like a wall post of yours in their news feed. It works like this:

1: Find a picture that will attract eyeballs. (Often, it's pictures of sultry women or exotic locales.)

2: Upload the image to your Facebook account, then write a description for it that includes a link to whatever product you're trying to sell.

3: Find companies, celebrities, bands, or anyone with a large number of "friends" to befriend.

4: Tag them and as many others as possible in the photo.

5: Post the photo.

Once you post your photo, many of the people who are "friends" with the companies, celebrities, bands, and people you tagged will see it. Why? Because of their news feeds. For instance, how many times have you seen what appeared to be a spam post by someone you follow? Or, at the very least, something that seemed uncharacteristic of them to post? Chances are, it was there because they were tagged. Here's an example of one I noticed in my news feed from a friend this past weekend:

 

Because I knew such a thing was uncharacteristic of him to post (not the beautiful image, but the incongruous description below it), I quickly noted where it said he was tagged. Since this is the 5th or 6th time I've seen this happen to people within the past 2 months, I figured I would create some awareness. As such, I clicked through to see what deal the person was peddling. Sure enough, here's what I saw:

 

Now, perhaps as a typical Facebook user, this doesn't seem like a huge deal; however, if you're an entity with a brand image to maintain and you don't want your loyal followers to be spammed by what appears to be you, then this should motivate you to make one simple change in your Facebook privacy options. Doing this will make it such that you have to approve posts that people tag you in before they post to your wall (thus, your "friends'" news feeds) or have your name shown in them.

How to enable tag moderation in Facebook

1: Click the down-arrow next to your name in the upper right-hand corner of your profile when logged in, then click "Privacy Settings."

 

2: In the page that displays, look for the "Profile and Tagging" section, then click "Edit Settings."

3: In the window that pops up, click where it says "Off" in the third section down, titled "Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your profile." (Note: If you see "On" instead of "Off," then you're already set up and there's no need to continue to the next step.)

 4: In the "Profile Review" window that pops up, click "Disabled" in the upper right-hand corner, then, from the drop-down box, click "Enabled."

 5: Click the "Back" button, then click the "Done" button on the window that follows. You're all set now.

From here, if anyone tags you in a post of any kind, you will be notified and your approval will be required before it displays on your wall (thus, in any of your "friends'" news feeds). After how much abuse I've seen with this technique from spammers and Internet marketers, I figured it was time to blow the whistle on the practice and try to create awareness such that people and companies can guard themselves from such behavior.

Do you have any other issues you've noticed with Facebook that you'd like to see addressed? Alternately, maybe you have some additional Facebook tips to offer. Either way, let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Topics: Collaboration, Apps, Browser, Cloud, Google

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

6 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Thank you!

    Sharing this with many of my family members - I'm sick of seeing ads for shoes/purses/sunglasses/etc because of a spammer "fauxto-tagging" them.
    R_Connelie
    • I just uprated you again.

      Obviously a spammer down rated you.
      Bozzer
  • How much longer until...

    ...people figure FB just isn't worth the hassle any longer? I did 3 years ago. Luckily I only wasted a few months of my life.
    Hatestone Johnson
  • This also may be worth investigating in relation to Pages and Groups

    You may allow people to tag your business that you have a Page for but this could be used as a way of spamming the business name. Normally a person citing the business may be citing a good or bad experience but this could lead to a spam link to a dodgy page.
    simon_mackay
  • Though Facebook grays out known malicious links posted in comments

    Though Facebook grays out known malicious links posted in comments, messages and status updates as a means of spam prevention, you can take many steps to avoid, prevent and deal with spam on the site.
    serial key
    chadwick34
  • Be aware of new kind of spams

    Excellent article. The tag moderation tool is one of the most handy one to prevent the spreading of spams through our wall. Another useful article which explains all sort of spams in facebook can be found here http://www.allinlined.com/2014/01/please-stop-spamming-on-fb.html
    Alex Jose