Facebook ‘Graphic App’ privacy warning hoax spreads across social network

Facebook privacy lockMore and more Facebook users have been sharing a message warning of a change in Facebook’s privacy settings, and how a new “Graphic app” could let any member of the social network see your photos, likes and comments.

Despite the message being inaccurate, and containing a number of misunderstandings, it continues to circulate.

A typical version of the message reads as follows:

Hello to all of you who are on my list of contacts of Facebook. I would like to ask a favour of you…. You may not know that Facebook has changed its privacy configuration once again. Thanks to the new “Graphic app”, any person in Facebook anywhere in the world can see our photos, our “likes” and our “comments”. During the next two weeks, I am going to keep this message posted and I ask you to do the following and comment “DONE”. Those of my friends who do not maintain my information in private will be eliminated from my list of friends, because I want the information I share with you, my friends, to remain among my friends and not be available to the whole world. I want to be able to publish photos of my friends and family without strangers being able to see them which is what happens now when you choose “like” or “comment”.

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Unfortunately we cannot change this configuration because Facebook has made it like this. So, please, place your cursor over my photo that appears in this box (without clicking) and a window will open. Now move the cursor to the word “Friends”, again without clicking and then click on “Settings”. Uncheck “Life Events” and “Comments and Like”. This way my activity with my family and friends will no longer be made public. Now, copy and paste this text on your own wall (do not “share” it!). Once I see it published on your page, I will un-check the same for you. Thanks so much.

The truth is that there is no such thing as “Graphic App”, and the material you post on Facebook is viewable by others based upon the sharing settings you have chosen, just as it has always been.

Versions of this inaccurate privacy scare have been circulating for some time, but this latest version appears to have been inspired by Facebook’s recent rolling out of its “Graph Search” facility.

Graph Search makes it easier for people to find content that has been shared on the social network through the use of natural language and filters.

The good news is that Graph Search doesn’t make anything you have shared on Facebook any more public than it was before.

The bad news, though, is that it does provide a much easier way to dig up information that might otherwise have been overlooked or hard for others to dig out of your Facebook history.

I have published tips for better protecting your Facebook privacy which are well worth a read in response to the wider roll-out of “Graph Search”.

If you’re thinking of leaving Facebook, why not listen to this “Smashing Security” podcast we recorded:

Smashing Security #75: 'Quitting Facebook'

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Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

2 comments on “Facebook ‘Graphic App’ privacy warning hoax spreads across social network”

  1. Simon Peck

    If I have already altered the Settings for
    friend's privacy under this hoax, how do I reset them
    back, please?

  2. DAAC

    forget about the "graphic app" part.. that part is dumb and not true.. there is no "graphic art" new privacy… but what is true is if you liked or commented on your friends post or picture…. all of your friends that have no connection to what you just liked will see what you liked or what you commented on…. I see my FB friends likes and comments all the time, even if I have no connection to whomever they just liked… or if you commented on a page you are subscribed to and you are a friend of mine, it alerts me that you made a comment, even though I did not subscribe to that page or have any connection to that page. but don't take my word, go ahead. Try it.

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