FACEBOOK is testing a new feature that will alert you if it thinks you’re being messaged by a fraudster.
It’s part of the company’s ongoing bid to tackle fakery on the website – including scam messages sent by phoney accounts.
Part of the problem for everyday Facebook users is that it’s hard to tell who’s who on the site.
When you receive a friend request or message from someone out of the blue, you have no real way of making sure that person is who they say they are.
But Facebook is now using its clever systems to pick up on clues that might give away fraudsters, as revealed by Motherboard (and later confirmed by Facebook).
That way, when you receive a message from them, you’ll be warned that they might be a fake.
So how exactly does it work?
Facebook will examine a number of different traits of a person using its Messenger app.
This will include whether a person is using Messenger without an associated Facebook account, and which country the person’s phone number is registered in.
For instance, if you’re British, and the vast majority of your Facebook friends are British, Messenger will flag up if someone randomly starts messaging you with a British-based account assigned to a Russian phone number.
Similarly, Facebook will check up on whether an account shares a similar name to your actual Messenger contacts or friends.
That way, you’re less likely to fall for any scams where a fraudster pretends to be someone you know.
Facebook has confirmed that the feature is being tested, but hasn’t revealed when (or if) it will be available for everyone.
In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson said: “We are testing a new feature that provides people with more context on someone they may not have previously connected with in Messenger.
“This context will allow them to make a more informed decision about whether or not they’d like to message that individual.”
Facebook is currently facing a seriously tough battle against people spreading fake news.
It’s a major problem: back in the 2016 US election, Facebook facilitated a barrage of lies and misinformation from so-called Russian troll factories.
It’s believed that Facebook is one of the prime avenues on the internet through which people read fake news.
The social network – which serves nearly 2.5billion people worldwide – has vowed to do better.
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Only today, Facebook introduced a new feature to WhatsApp, alerting users when a message they’ve received has been forwarded.
The aim is to make users more aware when they’re receiving hoax messages, which spread like spam email chains from the early days of the internet.
Facebook is keen not to censor the incredible amount of content uploaded to the site every day, so giving users more information is a prime goal for the firm.
That’s why it’s no surprise to see Facebook alerting users when something seems fishy with an account on the site.
Sadly, there’s no guarantee the new feature will roll out to all users.
Do you think Facebook is doing enough to keep its users safe? Let us know in the comments!
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