Facebook Fights back against porn and violence spam

 

Ever thought that your Facebook new feed is looking a lot more...voyeuristic lately?  What about the occasional inclusion of a death scene photo, or of extreme violence?  The social network is investigating these images that spammers have planted.

Troll-fensive content has cropped up all over Facebook news feeds, including hardcore porn, extreme violence, animal abuse and (for the lucky ones out there) a photoshopped image of Justin Bieber in a...'sexual' situation.  According to security firm Sophos, users had been seeing the images posted on a friend's account without their knowledge, fully visibe to everyone except for the friend in question.

“It’s precisely this kind of problem which is likely to drive people away from the site,” wrote Sophos senior technology consultant Graham Cluley in a blog post. “Facebook needs to get a handle on this problem quickly, and prevent it from happening on such a scale again.”

The question as to the origination of these spam images is one that hasn't been determined, and probably won't.  But some sources across the internet are pointing the blame at Anonymous.  The hacktivists had made the threat to attack Facebook earlier this month based upon the lack of privacy options.  But they had not mentioned or took credit for their actions on any social channels, a partaking that is unusual of Anonymous, as they are quick to take responsibility for actions.

Regardless of where it came from, Facebook is starting to feel more like a reputation-less 4chan now than a social network.  It's unfortunate, especially when groups like the titled "I remember when Facebook WASN't a porn site!" actually have some sort of meaning behind them.

UPDATE: Facebook has released a statement, claiming the problem to be with malicious javascript that some users were conned into pasting into their browser URL bar.  Read it below:

“Protecting the people who use Facebook from spam and malicious content is a top priority for us, and we are always working to improve our systems to isolate and remove material that violates our terms. Recently, we experienced a coordinated spam attack that exploited a browser vulnerability. Our efforts have drastically limited the damage caused by this attack, and we are now in the process of investigating to identify those responsible.

During this spam attack users were tricked into pasting and executing malicious javascript in their browser URL bar causing them to unknowingly share this offensive content. Our engineers have been working diligently on this self-XSS vulnerability in the browser. We’ve built enforcement mechanisms to quickly shut down the malicious Pages and accounts that attempt to exploit it. We have also been putting those affected through educational checkpoints so they know how to protect themselves. We’ve put in place backend measures to reduce the rate of these attacks and will continue to iterate on our defenses to find new ways to protect people.”

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Source: Mashable