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David Emery

Facebook Rumor Warns of Photo Tagging 'Virus'

By March 22, 2011

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A "new" viral message warns Facebook users of a virus supposedly transmitted when you receive a notification that you've been tagged in a picture and click on a link to see it. This is the text of the rumor:

NEW VIRUS ON FB using YOUR pictures. It says you've been tagged in a picture, wants you to click on a link to see it. Then hacks into YOUR computer & ALL YOUR ACCOUNTS including BANKING & other secure accounts. It DESTROYS YOUR COMPUTER. Once hacked into your comp; it sends e-mails to your friends telling them they have been TAGGED in pics & starts the process again. PLEASE RE-POST URGENT !!!!!!!!!!

This warning isn't really new — it's been circulating since last year, when it was debunked by Hoax-Slayer.com — nor is it entirely true. Facebook automatically notifies users when they've been tagged, and there's typically no harm in clicking through to tagged images. I've found no confirmation on Internet security sites of a related virus that "hacks into your secure accounts" or "destroys your computer."

Photo tagging spam

I have seen reports of an annoying phenomenon called "photo tagging spam" wherein marketers tag images with the names of people who don't actually appear in said images to advertise products or drive traffic to storefront websites. If you receive such a notification you can delete your name by viewing the image and clicking the "Remove My Tag" link (which should appear next to your name), and you can report the spammer by clicking the "Report this Photo" link below the picture.

Read more:
Facebook Virus Using Your Pictures Warning
Are Tagged Photos a New Source of Marketing Spam?
HOW TO: Stop Facebook Photo Tagging Spammers from Bugging You


March 24, 2011 at 1:49 am
(1) Beth says:

I just got hit with one today – and yes its real. I have gotten a multitude of ‘so and so commented on a photo of you’ – and these are people I don’t know – and when I stupidly hit a link – it took me to an ‘unavailable page’ – upon further investigation – the people in question are on a gaming friends list – and have no clue who I am.

March 25, 2011 at 7:32 am
(2) Emily Barton says:

I’ve been tagged twice this week and they are also gamers who don’t know me. It’s so annoying, I wish poeple would just get a life.

March 24, 2011 at 8:36 am
(3) Mary Ann says:

I have been hit with it twice this week, both from Friends who were not aware it was happening. I deleted the post from my Profile.

July 28, 2011 at 4:24 am
(4) zul hami zan says:

does it works when you deleted the post from your Profile

March 24, 2011 at 10:24 am
(5) Susan Kagan says:

Your sidebar ad called “1 tip for a Tiny Belly” traps you if you click on it; there is no exiting from it–you have to restart your computer to get rid of it. It’s particularly obnoxious because there is a speaker who assaults your ears.

March 24, 2011 at 10:31 am
(6) Ginger says:

The point is……it won’t “destroy your computer” or “hack into your accounts.” Read what he said……again!

April 19, 2011 at 10:51 am
(7) maroun haj says:

man how can i delet this virus or removed it ?

April 20, 2011 at 9:09 pm
(8) christie says:

um yes it will i believe my fiance clicked on one of these it attacks through your antivirus, makes it unable to use and then keeps shutting down your computer and sayd ram not available and hard drive error and all kinds of stuff i had to remove my antivirus and add a new one but i still lost all my photos :(

March 29, 2011 at 2:19 am
(9) Meredith says:

Well, it may not “destroy” my computer…but after getting 5 messages about being tagged in photos (four from people that I have never met in real life), I decided to do a virus scan. And what do you know…a trojan virus that wasn’t there 10 minutes ago. So, tell me again how this is “not true”. I made the mistake of clicking on the first one and it sent me to a blank screen and my laptop froze. I had to shut it down hard…which isn’t good for it.

March 29, 2011 at 9:45 pm
(10) Iman Oldgeek says:

Any decent antivirus program has a live function that will block trojans. And if your system locks to the point of being unresponsive, the hard drive is probably not spinning so it is as safe to shut it off by the power switch as it is to turn off a light.


March 30, 2011 at 8:49 pm
(11) shaye says:

Um, my PC is dead, I’m bald and my genitalia is orange…did I get it from malicious Facebook tagging…? Maybe I should have gone into my Facebook profile and chosen “secure browsing”. NO, I can’t take crazy quizes or vote for people for best new tuba player, but I can keep my hair and have normal color genitals.

April 2, 2011 at 10:45 am
(12) Heather says:

This is a real virus; now, it’s not going to destroy your harddrive, eat your mom and make your dog do your homework, but I was hit with a chat message from a family member saying I was tagged in a photo, with a facebook app link. It was early in the morning, so I clicked.

It automatically downloaded an exe file. I’m on a mac, so that action is useless, and I asn’t infected, but a PC would have been smacked. It required no permissions granting. So beware of clicking links in your chat messages!

April 14, 2011 at 7:15 am
(13) Alex says:

I just got the notification as an email. Stupid as I am, I clicked the link saying I was tagged as a top ten stalker for some girl whos profile I never ever visit, got so confused I just had to click it to check. Now, I use the latest firefox version and I have pretty strict security settings applied.. so nothing actually loaded. I got a bit suspicious, closed the window and went to the live feed page. The first thing I see is the message quoted in this article.. So I panicked, turned of internet and rebooted into linux :P

Now Im afraid of going back to windows.. haha.. I just hate to deal with viruses.. And I wonder what this “virus” thing can actually do? Lets say it installs a trojan on your computer, anyone know exactly how “mean” this thing is? Or maybe by clikcing the link you give away some other information which gives the wrong people the wrong kind of information which they can use ie. to .. what? Hack my account? Track my sufring? Key-logg me?

April 15, 2011 at 10:40 pm
(14) Cammie says:

My mom actually said just yesterday that I had been hit with a virus because there was a post under my name that I had tagged people. I was also tagged in my friend’s album which I guess was hit too. She told me to go into my facebook and to change my password and not to click on anything on my wall. Another one of my friends was just hit with it just under a hour ago. It had a pic of a girl and two videos of (I guess) was the same girl.

April 20, 2011 at 10:28 pm
(15) David Stewart says:

All the same – it is a spam or scam under facebook’s definitions. It spreads when stupid people click on the “Look who viewing your profile” or “Joe Blow has been tagged in the new shithot restaurant profile ” etc. When these said stupid people click on the link, they are taken to a facebook app which then gets access to their friend lists and then some of their friends get tagged for the next round……
That is viral enough for me – it is a pestilance on the facebook experience as well and I am tired of it appearing on my newsfeed.
IT IS SPAM and it is spread by stupid people and this article needs to be more clear about that!

April 27, 2011 at 7:42 pm
(16) Geri says:

It sounds like the problem is that people don’t realize that if one gets an invite to an app from someone they don’t know, it’s best not to accept the app. Then again, if they’re that gullible, maybe they deserve to have their computers rendered useless. Just sayin’.

April 25, 2011 at 7:37 am
(17) Frank C says:

I don’t know if I have the same kind of virus, but I received pictures of other people tagged with my name.
My facebook account is now behaving erratically, I cannot view my messages, cannot edit Friends, cannot put up posts.
This happens on any PC and iPad, but FB works fine on iPhone…
Does anyone have a similar problem?

May 16, 2011 at 1:29 pm
(18) Rachel says:

Facebook is a pain. I think it uses up too much memory unless you have a really great computer. On my computer it is constantly freezing, going r e a l l y slow and eventually it quits letting me do anything. It’s a facebook thing; you either have to live with it, buy an expensive computer with an expensive graphics card, or don’t use facebook.

May 1, 2011 at 8:20 pm
(19) Saved says:

This virus hit me through Facebook and now I get log into the internet. It keeps on telling me that someething is wrong with the Internet Explorer. This started when I opened up a message from Facebook which someone sent me.

May 5, 2011 at 7:23 am
(20) lil says:

it really destroyed my pc ,,,now when i connect to internet my pc shows blue screen and restarts ,,i need to format pc

July 21, 2011 at 2:09 am
(21) Dylan says:

Try going to safe mode with Networking and get a decent antivirus. Scan your PC or you could just change ur password 4 Facebook

May 17, 2011 at 7:09 pm
(22) marxamus says:

I have seen this first hand, not just on facebook but when performing a google search for images, when I clicked on the photo to open it, my antivirus picked up that there was a virus attached to it so I cancelled the download.
So I feel that its is real and out there.

May 17, 2011 at 10:17 pm
(23) ChittPappy says:

The writer above, David Emery, is so clueless it’s comical. Reminds me of a 10 year old debating whether Santa Claus is real or not.

June 20, 2011 at 10:59 pm
(24) Nicki says:

My daughter clicked on a link on Facebook that told her she was tagged in a video on youtube. Her computer screen went black and we have been unable to do anything with it since….:(

July 18, 2011 at 7:16 am
(25) do says:

I’m in the same situation, since the attac, i can’t enter fb. can you advise me what to do?

July 21, 2011 at 2:19 am
(26) Dylan says:

Dude is it a hacker or just a virus that stops u going on the Internet or Task Manager . If a hacker then u can’t do anything about unless if u or someone here a is pro on PC’s. If it is a Virus that stops u going on the internet and vise versa then follow these steps
1) Press F8 when starting up ur PC
2) It will launch into safe mode
3)Go on safe mode with networking
4) When ur PC starts up, go on the internet to download malwarebytes
5)Install after downloading
6)Scan ur PC with it
I Hope this helps! (Reply!)

July 31, 2011 at 7:46 pm
(27) Robert Thompson says:

I am having the same problem right now. I can’t log into Facebook. I am currently running a full scan with Malwarebytes. After it is finished i am going to run a full scan with PC Tools Spyware Doctor with anti virus. This is a ongoing battle with these virus makers.

June 22, 2011 at 4:14 pm
(28) TheLT says:

I run a computer repair business that specializes in removing viruses and trojans. Facebook keeps my business going because people just can’t resist clicking on something from someone they don’t know. Repeated warnings are lost on some people.

July 27, 2011 at 10:00 pm
(29) Computer Sick says:

I think my son clicked on something in his facebook account. We can no longer get on facebook when the internet does work it says there is a technical problem with facebook, but we can get on any body else computer and it doesn’t have that error. I tried running my Norton security software and the computer just shuts down. Today I logged into my facebook from a different computer and there were several messages sent to my friends saying do they want to see something funny and click on this link. These are messages I did not send. Now I can not log into the internet at all from my computer and it won’t let me do a disk clean up or run my virus software. Does anyone have any suggestions before I pay an expensive PC doctor??? Please Help

July 29, 2011 at 8:53 pm
(30) James T. Kirk says:

Some Versions of the Cropcircle Photos ( ALIEN WITH PIPE AND WHITE HORSE in Wiltshire),
circulating on Facebook ( not on the rest of the internetsources ) contain a Trojan Virus !!!
When You click on the Photo a Trojan or Spyware will be installed on your Computer !!!
You will see for the fraction of a second a medium size popup-window with a little progressbar -
After that your https connection is switched to http, and you will not be able to go back to https -
It does not do the usual routines and get viral on your friends, its more the background – thing.
But it opens to an unsecure connection and opens the firewall so your computer can be remote controlled,
and/or spyed out – You can see in the browserbar if you are on https – Connetion -
If not, then first check your account settings and make sure you have marked ” always https ” if not, mark it anyways !!!
In case you have caught the Virus , dont panic !!!
It is not clear yet how dangerous the Trojan is , it does not erase your maindisc or eats your computer.
BUT its malware and You have to get rid of it -
1. Step : delete the mark, if You are marked on mentioned Photo
2. Step : delete any version you have shared / saved or have in Your Albums or Your computer
3. Step : close facebook, close Browser and reboot YourPC
4. Step : Use your standard Antivirus – programmand it will find a trojan ” TR/PSW.agent89 ”
5. Step : Delete the File -
6. Step : then go back to Your Facebook account, open account settings – security – https -
You can check in Your Browserbar, if You are back on a safe Connection.
Done ! Relax ! Browse safer !!!
This is really not a joke !!!
Last Step : Help to keep the Internet safe for everybody – spread this message to Your friends !!!

July 31, 2011 at 1:23 pm
(31) donna says:

hi everytime I go to loge into my facebook profile my fb is whight it use to have a blue bare acrost the top of the page and it was never like that before and im wored if its a viruse or my fb page but when im at my sisters hers is fine can you please help me by emailing me at my yahoo mail addres thank Donna

August 3, 2011 at 2:52 pm
(32) Rita says:

If someone does a collage of their friends and tags you, every time someone in that collage, or one of their friends, replies to that tag, it will show up as tagging a photo of you. Even people you don’t know. This is not viral, this is how the app works.

August 8, 2011 at 6:58 pm
(33) Susan says:

Facebook is posting my wall photo on iphones unauthorized an added an unauthorized title Aug 8 2011
tired of it

August 12, 2011 at 7:08 pm
(34) Stanley Jenkins says:


November 15, 2011 at 5:19 pm
(35) Annoyed@FB says:

I just received 3 comments from people who arent even on my friends list, who have commented on a photo of me ..??? I have my photos private and I have to approve all tags first .. I keep getting this text on my phone tho and when I go online on my pc, I dont see anything..I dont click on the links…cause I have clue who this people are, but I want it to stop..can anyone help me please…

December 17, 2011 at 4:13 pm
(36) Myrna says:

do not, i repeat.. do not accept or give out any such things as christmas cards, my birthday, etc.. they are really bad viruses !!!

January 23, 2012 at 2:06 pm
(37) suman says:

I am hacked by facebook virus. so, friend be carefully use it. I deactivate my facebook Id. Dear, facebook committee please react it and remove this virus.

February 8, 2012 at 9:48 am
(38) jenna says:

Last night I spent over 4 hours trying to get my computer back to where it operated right. For days I noticed that I was having all kinds of issues with my pc such as the computer would not allow me to turn it back on from the sleep mode. It continuously shut down. Finally yesterday it was impossible to get any page to load. When I finally tried everything and somehow got it back and ran all kinds of repairs, reverting back to earlier dates, I saw that my Norton was totally shut down and would not allow me to put back the protection.
After hours, I was able to get Norton to go through updates, scans etc and finally at 2 a.m. got my protection back and now the computer is functioning properly. I, too, got those tagged in photos on facebook or someone I didn’t even know sending me an email saying they liked my being tagged in the photo. i mistakenly clicked them on because they came under my niece’s name but yet I was not in any of her tagged photos. So I wondered if this virus thing was true yet Norton didn’t pick up on it nor does the writer at the beginning feel it is true but something wrecked havoc on my machine, if not that, then what?

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