When spammers strike your Facebook ID

Sheikh Sabiha Alam . Dhaka | Update:

When spammers strike your Facebook IDYou spend a long time on Facebook, taking pictures of yourself and your friends, uploading them, expressing your opinions, getting into arguments and making new friends.

Your Facebook ID has become a part of your life.

But, do you know that this Facebook ID of yours can be filched at any time. There are many groups, known as ‘spammers’, who can take your ID over. Sometimes they can return the ID for free ot it may cost money at times.

Such an incident happened to popular actor Siam recently. He lost his ID before the release of his latest film ‘Dohon’. He was preparing for the promotion of the film on Facebook. He got his profile back with the help of police after 25 days.

There are others including some celebrities who were targeted by the groups. Police Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) additional deputy commissioner Nazmul Islam said, police had arrested at least 50 spammers in the last two years. Also, a list of more than 100 habitual spammers has been drawn up.

The CTTC authorities wrote on their Facebook wall, “It is a punishable criminal offence under digital security act to take control or try to take control over others’ Facebook profile or disable. Do not try this just to vent your personal angst or meet your ‘wild fantasy’.

When asked “who are these spammers” and “what and how are they doing it,” experts said that the groups target and stalk a particular Facebook ID. They sometimes report the ID collectively to the Facebook authorities and deactivate the ID. Sometimes they take control of the ID and threaten the owner or ask for ransom.

CCTC officials said, the spammers have made way to deactivate at least 20 IDs of people working in TV plays, films and commercials. Although they get their IDs back after showing the appropriate documents, the process is often very hectic.

A spammer on condition of anonymity told Prothom Alo that at least 20 groups are active at the time of which at least five returns the IDs in exchange of money. For this, they demand from 1000 to 100,000 taka. Often partners deploy spammers to spy on each other. Students from ninth grade to university level are involved with these groups.

How spammers operate
The word ‘spammers’ came from e-mail spam. The way spam generates in one’s email, spammers also attack an ID and use abusive words in the comment section.

Some of the active groups are Don’s Team, Imperial Tribe, Gunda Gang, Leader Gang, Black Metal, Anonymous, Mafia, Dangerous Force, Toxic and so on. Some group administrators live abroad while their cohorts live in Bangladesh.

An expert said, the most powerful allegation the ‘spammers’ used to report a Facebook profile is ‘nudity’. Apart from that, another allegation is that the owner of the ID is not the real owner. Sometimes IDs may be disabled due to images or copyright dispute. When someone challenges the ID owners, they have to prove ownership of the profile.

“You may upload a picture of a mountain or sea as your profile picture. Spammers buy free website domain with a few dollars and upload same picture with the same caption with a back date,” the expert explained.

“They send the photo link to Facebook authorities and complain of plagiarism. Facebook will deactivate the ID for copyright violation.” He continues saying, “After that while one tries to log in, a message will pop up, “Recently there are some suspicious activities from your account. Complete these few steps to log in to your account.”

“Users have to be careful while using devices. It is better not to have the passwords auto-saved or click on any unknown link” said head of computer science and engineering department of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST).

*This piece originally published in Prothom Alo print edition has been rewritten in English by Farjana Liakat

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