The social networking website, with over 500 million users, which offers its subscribers only a “like” button for anyone’s updates, is now faced with a fake “dislike” button, which is spreading like a virus across the site.
The fake dislike button is followed with a link that takes people to a fake application. Instead of installing a dislike button, the application uses the person’s network to continue spreading the fake programme.
It may be pertinent to point out that for long a growing number of users have been demanding the introduction of an official “dislike” feature to accompany the ''like'' button already in place. The scam is likely to be the culmination of this growing demand.
Graham Cluley of the British security firm Sophos investigating the scam said the fake dislike button is part of a recent trend of Facebook scams. “It’s the latest survey scam spreading virally across Facebook, using the tried-and-tested formula used in the past by other viral scams.”
Such schemes are designed to steal information from internet users. That information then can be sold to other parties. The scams are also used to affect an internet user’s social network contacts.
“Watch out for posts that look like this: I just got the Dislike button, so now I can dislike all of your dumb posts!” Cluley said.
“If you do give the application permission to run, it silently updates your Facebook status to promote the link that tricked you in the first place, thus spreading the message virally to your Facebook friends and online contacts.”
According to sources, the hoax tempts users by appearing to come from a friend. When users click on the link it prompts them to install a rogue application, which does not function as a “dislike” button. Once a user has given permission to access their profile, it updates the user's page with a link and a message: "I just got the dislike button, so now I can dislike all of your dumb posts lol!!!"
The experts give the following advice to avoid the fake button, “If you accidentally installed the fake application, click on the ‘account’ button at the top right of the Facebook home screen. Navigate to the option that says ‘application settings’ and disable the fake ‘dislike’ application.”
“If the application is posted to your Facebook wall, go to your profile page and delete those posts to stop the scam from spreading further.”
Facebook has said it is trying to block the “dislike” button.
Users of the networking site should think carefully before they click on an unknown link in a friend's status update as these scams are becoming increasingly common.
''Giving away personal information in a survey and allowing an application access to your profile is extremely risky and Facebook users need to wise up to this rather than just clicking on links that they see, just because they appear to be from a trusted source.''
''We're always working to improve our systems and are building additional protections against this type of content,'' she said.
''As always, we encourage people not to click on suspicious links anywhere on the web, even if they've been sent or posted by friends.
''We also have a robust reporting system in place and encourage our users to report any content they suspect to be spam or have the potential to compromise a user's account through the 'flag' button underneath each post.''