I recently checked out the Facebook Fan Check Application on Facebook. It does some sort of calculation on your friend list and arranges your top 15 friends in a order and it looks like to me the order is in the amount of Facebook activity that you and your friends have. For example, my brother is actually number one on my list followed by my fellow Tech Show Fan, Claudio Miranda. Once this calculation is made, then it will create a image with all of the Facebook profile pics of your friends and then it tags all of your friends. That is the extent of the application. In fact, it seems to generate more conversation amongst your friends that is useful and fun rather than the application spam you get from people wanting you to be their neighbor in Farmville or help them out in Yoville. Well, the bad guys have taken the hint that it is popular and somehow a rumor got started that it was a virus.
Spammers and malware writers have taken a hold of this and started creating the false virus checker type of malware sites and these sites are trending to the top in Google searches. Clicking on a lot of these top links will actually cause your more problems than Fan Check does.
The real reason people believed this is that the authors of Fan Check took it off line. During some time last week, users got this message when going into Fan Check:
“FanCheck is adding new features and new capacity. This could take a few days.
Please become a fan, and we’ll send you an update when we’re back online.”
What should you do to check on this (or any) kind of rumor?
My first stop is Snopes.com. Snopes.com is the clearing-house and by far the best site for hoaxes regarding pretty much anything including viruses. The Facebook Fan Check application is actually on the virus and malware hoax list and has both a read and green circle on them which means it has multiple truth values. Clicking on the links leads you to on Facebook. This essentially calls Fan Check a bad application more than anything. In fact, that page is a little out of date as I have the Fan Check app now and my wall is unaffected.
Googling for “Facebook Fan Check Virus” will provide you with a nice list of malware sites. Don’t click on any of the top ten and if you do, ignore the false warnings and be careful with any dialog that pops up. If you do click on a link, ignore their warnings about your machine being infected and close down your browser and restart your browser session.
If you are on Facebook and all of a sudden your wall acts weird, then I would try either removing the last app you added or just wait. Facebook has been kind of flakey as of late and sometimes it’s just a issue at Facebook and nothing you can do to fix it. Facebook is pretty diligent about getting rid of bad apps. FanCheck could be one of these, but I am using it and don’t have a problem with it.
The one thing I suggest you NOT do in this situation is panic. If a friend warns you about it, don’t take their word for it. Google it – but do NOT download any suggested fixes right away. Instead look for it on Snopes.com. Ask around with other friends. And just be careful when loading any software program that is not from a trusted source that also claims to fix a computer or software problem. These guys thrive on rumor and panic. If a rumor starts, the malware and scareware guys are there to take advantage of the rumor and of you. Don’t fall for it.
As of this writing, the Google searches have more good links with the top 2 being ok to click on as they are debunking the scare. For more on this, check Mashable.com and .