The Facebook privacy scandal involving Cambridge Analytica is raising questions about users’ security.
You might have seen posts like these pop up on your own Facebook account.
The trick spreading around social media suggests you can find out if your Facebook account is secure by typing “BFF” into the comments – if it turns green, you’re good to go.
The 13 On Your Side Verify team spoke with security and digital marketing experts to find out if this actually works.
First, Matthew Gort, security awareness program lead with Trivalent Group, said these posts are describing a specific Facebook feature.
“That is a special emoji feature that they introduced back in October 23 of last year,” Gort said. “They’ve slowly been expanding their catalog of different words that are available for it.”
Certain words will trigger animations on Facebook.
“With the ‘BFF’ it’ll show two hands floating up and they’ll high five each other,” Gort said. “With ‘congratulations’ a balloon will float across the screen. ‘XOXO’ hearts all appear.”
Can you really find out if your Facebook account is secure by typing “BFF” to see if it turns green?
No. That’s false.
“The color of the word BFF doesn’t mean that your account is secure or insecure, it’s just a special feature that Facebook has,” Gort said.
There are legitimate ways you can check the security of your account.
“Do the security account check up,” Gort said. “It’ll tell you what access that other people have and give you options of how you can make your account more secure.”
A digital marketing expert also gave a couple recommendations.
“Read the agreements before you sign up for the services,” said Paul Lavigne, President of DVS Digital Marketing Agency. “Know what you are allowing Facebook, or whoever it is, to do with your data. Number two, within all these services there’s preferences. So go in and choose what you are willing to share.”
Facebook’s founder on CNN spoke publicly for the first time since news broke that 50 million American users may have had their private data compromised.
“We’re going to go now and investigate every app that has access to a large amount of information from before we locked down our platform,” said Mark Zuckerberg.
After talking with the experts, we can verify that no, you can’t find out if your Facebook account is secure by typing “BFF” in the comments to see if it turns green.