Editor’s Update: Facebook has responded to our request for comment. The company is attributing the problems listed below to user error and it denies there was a virus or that the site was hacked. See our follow-up post for full details and for tips on how to keep your Facebook account secure.
Facebook users are complaining that their accounts are sending friend requests to people they don’t know or, worse, to people they’ve previously blocked. So far, Facebook is keeping mum on the issue.
One week ago, Facebook user Laina Mancini posted this message in a forum in the social network’s Help Center:
“FACEBOOK KEEPS ADDING FRIENDS THAT I NEVER REQUESTED O [sic] BE FRIENDS. SOME OF THE PEOPLE THEY ARE REQUESTING FOR ME I DONT EVEN KNOW??? HOW CAN I MAKE THIS STOP AND ONLY REQUEST THE FRIENDS ‘I’ WANT????…HELP”
The social network has yet to respond, but dozens of other users have replied voicing similar concerns. In some cases, they say, people they never sent requests to or confirmed requests from are showing up in their friends list. One user claims she has been blocked for 30 days from making friend requests for spamming users with requests, even though she has notified the company that she did not initiate them.
By all appearances, a virus seems to be spreading through Facebook. We’ve asked the company for comment and confirmation of the problems and will update this post when we hear back from them.
“Given that several people have already posted complaints, it seems like Facebook should care – unless they are hiding a huge and growing problem that they are trying to remedy,” said Monica-Niki Elenbaas, one of the affected users, in an email. Elenbaas said her Facebook account has been blocked from sending friend requests after more than 100 were sent without her knowledge. She first reported the problem last week, but the company has not responded.
Earlier this year, Facebook was hit with a virus that spread through instant messages. Users who clicked on a link in a message ostensibly sent by a friend unknowingly spread the virus.