The latest viral Facebook status is convincing users that their social media accounts are safe from hackers if they type “BFF” in a comment and the comment appears green. Spoiler alert: This is a total lie.
In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica leak, where it was revealed that 50 million Facebook users unwittingly gave their private information to a company working for President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign, Facebookers are rightfully on edge about the level of privacy the social platform can provide. The new viral status was shared by tens of thousands of people within a few days.
“Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, invented the word BFF,” the viral status reads. “To make sure your account is safe on Facebook, type BFF in a comment. If it appears green, your account is protected. If it does not appear in green, change your password immediately because it will be hacked.”
While the origins of the post remain unclear, the rationale behind the status is based on a misunderstanding of Facebook’s new features. In October 2017, Facebook unrolled a new animation feature that would be available whenever specific buzzwords were used in comments. “BFF,” much like “congratulations” and “xoxo,” are terms that trigger multi-color text and animations when used. That’s it.
Facebook continues to update the list of keywords that trigger animation, which might be why some users see green when “BFF” is typed while others do not. “Rad” and “lmao” were recently added to the keyword list so it’s only a matter of time before a viral post links one of these phrases to some vague data-mining conspiracy.
A green “BFF” comment on Facebook offers no indication of whether or not the user’s account can be compromised. If a simple status update was all it took to confirm account security, there wouldn’t be a growing campaign to delete Facebook entirely.