Another Facebook Rumor Debunked: “Secret Followers”
Every once in a while, a new Facebook “rumor” or status surfaces that urges you to share to get the word out. They have notoriously focused on privacy in the past, but you may have seen a new one recently about identifying “secret followers” and how to go about blocking them.
According to Shanna Grove of KUSA 9 News, these statuses typically say something like this:
“I did this and I blocked (X number of) people!!!! It was people I do not know and whose names I cannot pronounce. FB family and friends please do the following: Go to your account settings, go to blocking, go to block users, type in “Following Me” without the quotes, surprisingly there were (X number of) people following my FB page with names I cannot even pronounce. Very scary! They are all blocked now but I had to go to each individual name to block them. Copy and paste to pass it on.”
However, the rumor appears to have been debunked according to Snopes, a popular fact-checking website, and ThatsNonsense.com, a website dedicated to disproving internet rumors and hoaxes.
When you search the words “following me” in the “Block users” textbox, Facebook uses an algorithm, and according to ThatsNonsense.com, “What it DOES do is bring up a list of users associated with the words you typed into the textbox – in this case the words ‘following’ and ‘me.’ This can mean those words appear in a user’s name, introduction or any of their About Me sections.”
If you’re curious, follow the instructions. You’ll see something like this:
You’ll see we’ve circled where “Me” appears in almost every single name that pops up. Turns out, these accounts aren’t following you.
However, if you’d like to tighten up your privacy settings, you can make sure that your settings allow for only your friends to follow you, instead of allowing any user who is not your friend to follow you.
Happy Facebooking and Happy Fall!