This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more.X

User opposition to Facebook Timeline leads warnings about scam pages

Share this article:
Facebook follows Google's lead on user privacy settings
Facebook follows Google's lead on user privacy settings

Scammers are taking advantage of a Facebook user backlash to the new ‘Timeline' profile feature by developing pages with deceptive instructions on how to revert to the old-style layout.

According to the insidefacebook.com blog, fraudulent Facebook pages have appeared that prompt users to click a number of Like buttons, invite friends, watch YouTube videos and download files. It claimed to have found 16 Timeline-related scam pages that had collectively gained more than 71,000 likes and that these were among the top results when searching Facebook with the phrase "Timeline".

The feature, which divides a user's profile by date going back to when they first joined the social network, is permanent once a user opts in to try it and will be mandatory across the site within weeks.

Writing on the allfacebook.com blog, David Cohen said Facebook features have been the subject of scams before, most notably the nonexistent ‘dislike' button; but the Facebook Security page contains no warning about these scams, nor does the social network's help centre mention the fact that Timeline cannot be removed after the first seven days of use.

A Facebook spokesperson said: “We work hard to educate users on how to be safe through our blog and the Facebook and Facebook Security pages. We regularly update the Facebook Security page and its over five million fans with tips and information about new threats. We also work with outside experts on education initiatives.”

Stephen Cobb, security evangelist at ESET, said: “As I understand it, the day is coming when every Facebook user will have to use Timeline. I'm thinking that day is when the confusion will really snowball because a lot of people will decide they don't like Timeline and wonder to themselves, ‘can I remove Timeline'? The scam artists and click-jackers are getting ready for that day, offering bogus links on Facebook that promise Timeline removal.

“After several other steps, including inviting all your friends to like the page, you get this message, ‘Wait For Few Days Your Reuest Will be forwarded To The Timeline Office' [sic]. Hopefully nobody out there believes there is a Timeline Office.

“Unless Facebook changes its mind and makes Timeline optional, the bottom line is that you will have to live with it and avoid the temptation to click on links promising to help you deactivate, remove or disable Timeline; they are just not worth the risk.”

Share this article:

SC webcasts on demand

This is how to secure data in the cloud


Exclusive video webcast & Q&A sponsored by Vormetric


As enterprises look to take advantage of the cloud, they need to understand the importance of safeguarding their confidential and sensitive data in cloud environments. With the appropriate security safeguards, such as fine-grained access policies, a move to the cloud is as, or more, secure than an on-premise data storage.


View the webcast here to find out more

More in News

Cyber security still a learning curve for most companies

Cyber security still a learning curve for most ...

Poor network visibility, outdated security tools, a skills shortage and a lack of control in the cloud are just some of the reasons companies are struggling with cyber-security, say two ...

WorldPay hacker sentenced to 11 years for role in £6 million scheme

WorldPay hacker sentenced to 11 years for role ...

An Estonian man, who helped hack payment processor RBS WorldPay in 2008, has now been sentenced to 11 years in prison for his involvement in the £5.9 (US$ 9.4 million) ...

'Sophisticated' Chinese hackers launched attacks against 43,000 computer systems

'Sophisticated' Chinese hackers launched attacks against 43,000 computer ...

A new report reveals that a Chinese cyber-espionage group is closely affiliated with government and carried out attacks against the likes of Fortune 500 companies and government agencies.