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Facebook Users Warned About Rogue Dislike Application

August 16, 2010

Facebook users are being tricked into a scam by accepting an application that allows them to install a “dislike” button.

The scam tricks users into allowing the application to access their profile page, which then posts spam messages.

The application also attempts to lure users into taking an online survey.

Facebook offers a “like” button that allows users to let people know how they feel about their posts.

Graham Cluley of security firm Sophos told BBC News that the scam was the latest in a series of “survey scams” that include links to a video that claims to be an anaconda vomiting up a hippo.

“One thing we commonly see is that the message starts ‘OMG, shocking video’,” he said.

“And they appear to come from your Facebook friend, giving it a ringing endorsement.”

The new scam prompts users to download an application with the message:  “Download the official DISLIKE button now.”

Users then click on the link, which prompts them to install the rogue application.

Once a user downloads the application, it updates the user’s page with a link message.

“Many people are giving permission for completely unknown apps,” Mr Cluley told BBC News.

He said that the survey appears to be from genuine companies.

“As far as we can tell, they appear to be legitimate,” he said. “It could be that the firms are not policing their affiliates properly.”

The scam also points users to a Firefox add-on that installs a “dislike” button.

A spokesperson for Facebook said the social network had a “very quick process in place” to make sure that links and rogue applications were taken down quickly.

“We always encourage people to not click on links that appear suspicious – even if posted from a friend,” a spokesperson told BBC.

“They can report any posts to us. We can make sure that we take down any application or all of the links across Facebook.”

However, Cluley said that even though Facebook has had a quick response, it should oversee the development of rogue applications more closely.

“Anyone can write a Facebook app – these scams are constantly springing up,” he told BBC.

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