A strange, untrue scam message is currently flying around Facebook, frightening everyone it comes into contact with. It's uncertain whether the illegitimate messages are a scam, or simply some sort of prank, but they all make reference to a very real problem on social media: account cloning.
Account cloning, one of the most uncomfortable creepy things you can encounter on the internet, is when a scammer of some sort takes pictures off a real account and makes a fake account using information and photos from the other. These duplicate accounts are, sadly, not uncommon, which makes the strange message all the more believable.
In the past several weeks, many Facebook users have been receiving this message from a friend:
Hi… I actually got another friend request from you yesterday… which I ignored so you may want to check your account. Hold your finger on the message until the forward button appears… then hit forward and all the people you want to forward too… I had to do the people individually. Good Luck!
Fortunately, the message doesn't contain any sort of software virus—it's spreading simply because it tells people they have a clone account out there *somewhere* and they should pass on the message as a precaution. In that way, the message is little more than a particularly manipulative chain-mail.
The message may not be dangerous in itself, but being safe online is never a bad option. Whether you've received the above message or not, you can always check Facebook for possible "clones" by typing your own name into the search bar or reverse-image searching one or more of your photos. If you find another account under your name, reporting it to Facebook should solve the problem fairly quickly.
The internet is already pretty tired of this silly scam.
Be safe out there, everybody! But, also, no need to spam your friends inboxes with chain-mail.