We love a good hoax and conspiracy theory as much as anyone. Andrew WK is more than one person? Yeah, we’re in. Obama can control the weather? Sounds plausible to us. The earth is actually flat? Well we’ve been to Holland and it looked pretty flat there. STOP FALLING FOR IT SHEEPLE.
And - hands up - we were taken in by the latest one to hit Facebook. We’re sure you’ve seen it: if you do a simple search, you can apparently find a load of people you’ve never heard of who are friends with you - AND YOU NEVER ADDED THEM. This is just the latest attempt by Facebook to control your life isn’t it? Quick, everyone, let’s show Zuckerberg we’re not falling for it by, erm, sharing it on Facebook.
This is how it reads:
“If you go into your ACCOUNT SETTINGS then to BLOCKING (on left side of screen), then in the BLOCKED USERS search bar type in “following me” without the quotes, you might be startled by who is following you. Unfortunately you have to block them 1 at a time, which is annoying. I had 20 in the list and knew none of them. I blocked all of them. You might share or copy/paste if you found this helpful.”
However, this really is nothing to be worried about.
If you search with the term ‘following me’, then, indeed, a load of people do show up. But these people are not actually following you. They merely show up because they are the people most associated - via their nicknames, About Me sections and employment - with the words ‘following’ and ‘me’.
Facebook user Melissa Freck explained to NYMag how she conducted a little experiment, changing her details to include ‘following me’ to see what would happen - she was duly inundated with responses from angry people asking why she was following them.
According to Snopes, there was a similar post that went viral earlier this year involving the words ‘Facebook security’ - that too was a hoax.
So don’t worry, Facebook isn’t spying on you. Other than all the many, many other ways it’s spying on you of course.