Do Not Accept Friend Request From James Woods on Facebook-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Social media users have been warned not to accept a friend request from James Woods on Facebook because he's a hacker who can gain access to all of their contacts and personal information.
The do not accept a friend request from James Woods on Facebook warning is the latest in a long line of similar warnings that have never been tied to legitimate cybersecurity threats.
The "do not accept friend requests from James Woods" posts went viral in August 2017. There are different variations, but the gist is: "James Woods is a hacker. Do not accept friend requests from this ID. I know, I sent this message out to people by messenger, but better safe than sorry folks!!!"
[caption id="attachment_105371" align="aligncenter" width="446"]
Warnings not to accept friend requests from James Woods aren't tied to credible threats.[/caption]
These warnings are almost identical to earlier "do not accept friend request" warnings about John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt
, Anwar Jitou
, and Christopher and Jessica Davies
. All of these earlier warnings falsely claimed that accepting a friend request from these "hackers" would enable them to access and hack your entire contact list.
We've never been able to find any credible reports of hackers gaining access to the contact lists or to the personal information of people who accept their friend requests on Facebook. The only exception is a scam in which imposters will re-create Facebook accounts that look identical to their victims
, and re-friend everyone in their contact list to create a parallel, fake account. The hacker will then message their victims' contacts, often asking for money or a quick loan because of a personal crisis. But there weren't any reports of a scam like this related to a hacker named James Woods at the time this warning went viral.
It's not clear if the "James Woods" in the warning refers to the actor and outspoken conservative activist
who frequently uses social media to air his views or not, but the warning doesn't have a basis in reality either way.
Still, there are plenty of credible security threats on social media. Facebook urges users to not accept friend requests
from unfamiliar people, and that's generally a good rule to follow.