Blog Archives

How to find out if your Facebook account was hacked

Weeks after announcing that almost 50 million accounts on its website had been breached, Facebook adjusted the number to 30 million last Friday. Facebook also clarified that incredibly sensitive information such as passwords and credit card numbers were not accessed, but there’s a chance that your phone number, email address, location history, and even your search history on the social network were collected during the breach.

The good news is that Facebook promptly addressed the bugs that allowed hackers to request the information from its site. The bad news is that the damage had already been done by the time Facebook discovered them. Thankfully, you don’t have to wait on pins and needles to find out if your account was affected.

In addition to sharing an update about the breach last week, recounting the entire series of events from the time the bugs were discovered to the investigation that followed, Facebook also debuted a new feature that allows everyone with a Facebook account to find out whether or not their account has been impacted.

All you have to do to figure out if you’ve been hacked is visit this page on the Facebook Help Center and scroll to the bottom. As long as you’re logged in, you should see a blue box at the bottom of the page that will let you know if you were personally impacted by the attack. Here’s what it said when I visited:

“Based on what we’ve learned so far, your Facebook account has not been impacted by this security incident. If we find more Facebook accounts were impacted, we will reset their access tokens and notify those accounts.”

While the incident could have been significantly more serious in terms of the kinds of data the hackers were able to access, the fact that so many users were affected is extremely troubling. Facebook is doing what it can to win back the community’s trust, but it’s going to take more than that to wipe this stain away.

Facebook takes down hundreds of fake accounts ahead of US midterm elections

With less than a month to go before millions vote in the US midterm elections, Facebook has removed hundreds of pages and accounts that were caught spreading misinformation. In a news post on Friday, Facebook revealed that it has taken down 559 Pages and 251 accounts “that have consistently broken our rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior.” The social media giant also offered some details about those accounts.

Facebook says that offenders often use fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same name to share “massive amounts of content” to various Groups and Pages, directing users to their websites. This made their content appear more viral. Ad farms disguised as forums for political discussion were also part of the purge.

Facebook didn’t specify any of the accounts, Pages, or Groups that were affected by this recent eradication of rule-breakers, but The Wall Street Journal reports some of the Pages affected include Right Wing News, the Resistance, and Reverb Press (each of which were politically affiliated). Facebook says that it wasn’t the content of these Pages that got them taken down, but rather violations of behavior, detailed above.

“Topics like natural disasters or celebrity gossip have been popular ways to generate clickbait,” Facebook explains. “But today, these networks increasingly use sensational political content – regardless of its political slant – to build an audience and drive traffic to their websites, earning money for every visitor to the site.”

Facebook then went on to discuss the difference between coordination for the force of good, and coordination that could lead to your account or Page being removed from the site, and the difficulties of this process:

Of course, there are legitimate reasons that accounts and Pages coordinate with each other — it’s the bedrock of fundraising campaigns and grassroots organizations. But the difference is that these groups are upfront about who they are, and what they’re up to. As we get better at uncovering this kind of abuse, the people behind it — whether economically or politically motivated — will change their tactics to evade detection. It’s why we continue to invest heavily, including in better technology, to prevent this kind of misuse. Because people will only share on Facebook if they feel safe and trust the connections they make here.

Whether or not Facebook will be able to make a significant dent on the ad farms and fake accounts and rule-breaking Pages before November 6th remains to be seen, but at least something is finally being done.

Twitter’s removing the ability to create Moments on apps

Twitter has announced it will soon end the ability of users to create Moments through its iOS and Android apps. The tool will remain on the web version.

How orgasm faces differ between people from Eastern and Western cultures

Across cultures, the look of pain may be the same—but orgasms have a different face.

Facebook announces Portal, a video-chatting device for the home

Facebook has introduced an all-new video-based smart display called Portal. The device’s primary purpose is to connect family and friends.