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Facebook 'Dislike Button' Flagged As Scam

A 'Dislike' button spreading on Facebook is a rogue app designed to capture personal information and collect survey revenue.

Thomas Claburn

August 16, 2010

2 Min Read

Appealing as it may sound as a way to protest insidious social marketing, the "Dislike" button being promoted through Facebook status updates offers victimization rather than rebellion.

The "Dislike" button is the latest in a series of viral survey scams to hit the social networking site.

"Beware of the fake Facebook 'Dislike' button," warned Facebook Security in an online post on Monday. "As always, we advise you not to click on suspicious links on Facebook. We're working hard to stop these from spreading. If you see one, report it to us, and warn any friends who might be affected."

According to U.K.-based security company Sophos, the "Dislike" button is similar to other rogue applications that promote themselves using status updates, such as: "Justin Bieber trying to flirt", "Student attacked his teacher and nearly killed him", "the biggest and scariest snake" and the "world's worst McDonald's customer".

"Falling for any of these scams (which promise some lurid or eye-popping or exclusive content) typically trick you into giving a rogue Facebook application permission to access your profile, posting spam messages from your account and asking you to complete an online survey," explains Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, in a blog post.

The rogue "Dislike" application asks Facebook users for permission to access their basic information, to post on their Wall, and to access their data at any time. If these permissions are granted, the app will silently update the user's Facebook status to promote itself to the user's friends and contacts, thereby perpetuating the scam.

Facebook users who fall for the ruse will be asked to take a survey, which generates revenue for the scam creator(s), and will then be directed to a Firefox browser plug-in called "FaceMod - Facebook Dislike Button (The Original)."

Cluley says that the FaceMod button appears to be legitimate and is merely being used as bait.

About the Author(s)

Thomas Claburn

Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.

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