THE SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook has been hit by a scam tempting users to change the colour of the web site.
The scam involves inviting users to change the colour of their Facebook to pink, red or black for a limited time only. A link within the post then prompts the user to take various steps to gain the colour change.
OK, that sounds fine … ah but wait, here is what happens as you proceed …
First the link must be shared with friends on Facebook, an indication something is wrong because the change hasn’t even occurred at this point. Users are also asked to leave a comment, a clever way of making the scam look legitimate. Notably, Facebook is still blue at this point.
The eventual result is an external survey that must be completed in return for the makeover. It’s unsurprising that there is financial gain behind the scam.
Graham Cluley said on a Sophos blog, “Predictably, the point of all of this sharing is to drive more traffic to the scammers’ link where an online survey will pop-up. The more people who take the survey, the more commission that the scammers will earn.”
So what did Facebook say when this scam was pointed out to them?
“Facebook takes the security of the people who use the site incredibly seriously, and constantly develops ways to keep people safe and secure. We’re always working to identify the next cyber threat and build defences for it. Cybercriminals and spammers are a threat across the whole of the web, and we encourage people to find out how they can stay protected by liking the Facebook Security page or visiting our Help Centre.”
Now that does not really say anything about this at all. It feels very much like the FB folks simply shrugging their shoulders and saying “tough”. Its diplomatic of course and contains the words you expect, but then diplomacy always was about telling folks to go to hell in a manner that enables them to actually look forward to that journey.
If you really must mess with web-pages, then no weird FB apps are required. All you need is an appropriate add-on for your web browser that supports client side scripting. For example, Firefox supports “Greasemonkey“, and that in turn has thousands of pre-canned scripts (see here). Then again if you don’t find the script you want, grab one that does something similar, the hack it to do exactly what you want. That then enables you to render and filter any site in whatever way takes your fancy. Oh, and no timelimit applies, you can have it for as long as you want.
Now here are a few hints …
- 25 of the best Greasemonkey scripts for just tweaking Facebook
- And here is another list of FB specific scripts that includes one to change to any shade of colour you want
So happy scripting folks. As for me, well, I’ll just stick with what gets served up … almost, I quite like the AdBlock browser plugin.