Message circulating on Facebook warns users that, if they receive a video titled “Nobody can watch this for more than 15 seconds”, they should delete it because the video is a virus that will allow their Facebook accounts to be hacked.
The advice to delete the posts that link to this video is worth heeding. The threat described is real. However, it is a clickjack survey scam, NOT a virus and falling for the scam will NOT allow your Facebook account to be “hacked”. In its current form, this warning is potentially misleading and may cause further confusion and misunderstanding among Facebook users.
According to this warning message, which is currently circulating rapidly around Facebook, users should watch out for a video titled “Nobody can watch this for more than 15 seconds”. The message claims the video is actually a virus that will allow your Facebook to be hacked and should therefore be deleted. The message explains that the video post will appear to come from one of your Facebook friends.
The core advice in the message to delete posts about such a video is valid and worth heeding. A recent clickjack survey scam targeting Facebook users tried to entice people into following links with titles such as “98% of People Cannot Watch this for More than 10 seconds”. The messages contain an image of a person with a large boil on his neck.
Those who fall for the ruse and follow the link in the hope of seeing the video will be taken to a page that contains a seemingly normal video player. However, clicking the “Play” button actually opens a Facebook “Share” box that compels victims to send the same spam message to all of their Facebook friends. Supposedly, the video cannot be viewed until the link has been shared with other Facebook users. Next, victims will be told that they must “prove they are human” by participating in one or more “surveys” or “promotions”. When they proceed by following one of the survey links, victims will be presented with a series of “surveys” that may ask them to provide contact details and other personal information. Often, these surveys attempt to trick participants into subscribing to extremely expensive SMS services. By participating, they may also inadvertently give permission for marketing companies to contact them via email, phone or surface mail. Moreover, the scammer responsible for the attack will earn a commission whenever a victim participates in one of the bogus surveys.
Thus, these supposed video links are a genuine threat and Facebook users should certainly avoid clicking on them.
Unfortunately, however, the way the would-be warning is worded is potentially misleading. The clickjack survey scam described is certainly not a virus. Nor will clicking the link allow “hackers” to takeover your Facebook account. As described above, the scam attempts to trick people into spamming their friends with the same clickjack material as well as fooling them into participating in bogus surveys. Clicking on the link will not infect your computer with a virus. Clicking the link will not allow “hackers” to take over your Facebook account. Thus, in its current form, this warning contains significant inaccuracies and may well confuse more than it helps.