Adult Content Infects Facebook User Pages

Dennis Faas's picture

Facebook has been criticized many times before for failing to protect the personal information of its hundreds of millions of users. But now the site faces a new challenge: explaining to users why their "News Feed" has been taken over by advertising for adult-mannered websites.

As of late last week, Facebook users' home pages were bombarded with inappropriate photographs depicting extreme violence and supposed celebrities 'in the buff'.

While situations like this are relatively rare, the scale of the recent attack has led Facebook to re-evaluate the safeguards it has in place.

Facebook: Matter Being Investigated, Damage "Limited"

Facebook says it is aware of the attack and is currently investigating the matter. The social networking firm says it has "drastically limited the damage caused" by the invasion.

Security expert Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant for Britain's Sophos Ltd., believes the attack is probably related to "clickjacking," where links on a website execute hidden and malicious code and lead to the hijacking of web browsers.

In turn, web browsers can submit information to other websites (in this case, sharing ad-based links on Facebook pages even if the user didn't explicitly authorize it). (Source:

For its part, Facebook has issued the following statement:

"Users were tricked into pasting and executing malicious JavaScript in their browser URL bar causing them to unknowingly share this offensive content." On Wednesday the social networking firm blamed a browser vulnerability for the attack, but would not specify which browser was most vulnerable.

Many Users Vow to Quit

Although the social networking site -- which now boasts over 800 million users -- says it's working hard to make sure this kind of attack never happens again, many Facebook users say the problem has convinced them to cancel their accounts.

Ironically, many of the statements from Facebook users that they're done with Facebook for good appeared on Twitter, Facebook's rival social networking platform.

Cluley believes this is only the first of a series of similar attacks that are likely to strike Facebook in the coming months and years.

"Facebook has made improvements [to its security]," Cluley noted, "but the scale of the problem they face is enormous, what with its 800 million members and the target that makes them.

"I really, really hope Facebook can get a handle on spam and scams, but the spammers, the bad guys, are making just as much progress." (Source:

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