Claim: Typing “Facebook Security” into the “block search” field reveals the users Facebook is paying to secretly spy on you.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, January 2017]
Origin:In early January 2017 a rumor swept Facebook asserting (somewhat confusingly) that entering the term “Facebook Security” into either Facebook’s “block search” or regular search field would reveal a list of people Facebook Security had engaged to furtively monitor your activity. One version of the rumor presented it thusly:
[D]id you know there are people literally watching your Facebook account? Yes. There are people who have a specific duty to monitor your posts and activity. While there are many Facebook secrets, for those who enjoy privacy, this one is for you!
This claim was followed by a step-by-step guide for rooting out Facebook Security operatives who are surreptitiously monitoring your Facebook activity:
1. > Log into Facebook
2. > Account Settings
3. > Click on blocking
4. > In the search field where it says “Block Users” type in: “Facebook Security”
5. > A new window will pop up. The list you see is a list of [most likely] Facebook employees, spies, and private accounts that are paid to shill for who knows who (sarcasm (kind of)).
6. > Go down the list, and if you don’t like being monitored, just hit the “block button.” Some of the accounts are unable to be blocked. While this is somewhat disturbing, you must remember that Facebook owns everything Facebook, so in essence, you “agreed” to be monitored. (I know. What moral and reasonable organization needs to hire people to monitor you? Right?)
It’s impossible to ignore the inherently paranoid nature of these accusations, as well the implausibly large undertaking they describe. Facebook would need an army of “spies” to sift through the volume of interaction generated by users during any given day.
We contacted Facebook to ask whether there was any truth to the rumor and why users might think Facebook provides searchable spy profiles. A representative for the social media network explained to us that the feature in question “pulls up the profiles of people you might want to block based on search terms [and/or] individual inputs.”
Entering “Facebook Security” into the search box simply returns “profiles of [users] who have used those particular words somewhere on their profile [or] in a place that’s visible to the individual, as in a public post.” So the “spies” located by searching “Facebook Security” on “block search” are simply users who have at some point used the words “Facebook” and “Security” either in a public post or somewhere in their profiles; they are not part of a network of timeline-trolling Facebook operatives.
Originally published: 05 January 2017