On 6 February 2017, fitness marketer Antony Newby published a video advancing the claim that “copy and paste” Facebook status updates left users unwittingly vulnerable to people who wanted to hack into their social media accounts and, by extension, their computers:
The narrator of the video walks viewers through his theory of copy and paste hacking, claiming that anyone with bad intentions can copy a portion of any circulating status update, paste it into the search bar, and find everyone on social media who has shared that message.
Although the video claims to provide information about securing accounts, it instead just illustrates lack of familiarity with Facebook’s security protocols. Locating users using a search string of text does not make their accounts any more vulnerable to hacking, and we found absolutely no evidence to suggest that Facebook scammers target people with status updates. Even if Facebook scammers did unnecessarily target users with searches, they would still need an individual’s password to log in as that user — but if they had those credentials, there would be no need for hackers to target people sharing “copy and paste” status updates.
Best practices for Facebook security include two-factor authentication, by which each login is verified as legitimate. Unauthorized access should not be confused with account cloning, a known issue, but one that does not involve anyone accessing your account without permission (instead using your public photographs and information to solicit money or personal information from your friends and family). Copying and pasting a status update does not expose login information to Facebook scammers.