Not-so-friendly Requests: Adware on Facebook

Not-so-friendly Requests: Adware on Facebook“Mom? Why do you ha… where are all these ads coming from on your Facebook wall?” I asked as I sat down next to my mother with my laptop rested on my lap beside her. She glanced up from her laptop and gave a sidelong glance over my screen to see a rather bare bones Facebook wall that was devoid of any advertisements nor any requests open for those random farming games she was so impressed with. The look on her face was that of a cartoon character upon realization they had just been duped by the cross-dressing bunny rabbit once again.

I think we’ve all stumbled into a couple of Facebook style scams in the past, haven’t we? Back before the Timeline, apps would promise to pretty up your Facebook wall with overly Photoshopped stock images and motivational quotes in obscene cursive with garish pink sparkles twinkling down to the bottom of the page. Okay, so maybe I haven’t stumbled upon that and maybe you haven’t — but you know someone who has, right?

It’s okay, we’re all safe here. This is a “Sharing Space” and in this space, we’re going to help ourselves and our loved ones from falling victim to the advertisement scam applications in Facebook that will shuffle horrible bouncing gif advertisements of breasts, kittens, and teeth-whitening toothbrushes away from your wall and back into Angelfire hell where they belong.

First off, it’s important to know that — if you do have an ad on your Facebook wall and it’s actually embedded into the middle portion of your layout, it’s not from Facebook. A lot of people assume that, if there is an advertisement there on your wall, that the execs at Facebook have pawned your precious wallspace off to make money, but that’s simply not true. So you’re probably wondering what these malicious little things look like, right? I’ve been sure to include some darling little examples and have blotted out the most offensive bits and, as you can see, they’re hard to miss, right? Often enough, they try to hide themselves by looking like part of the Facebook interface, but the trained eye knows none of these things are part of the UI whatsoever.

Not-so-friendly Requests: Adware on Facebook

Not only is it garish to look at, but sometimes these images can cause slowdown due to encoded animations. Did I mention garish?

So how do you get rid of these things once you’re aware you have them? Run down this handy checklist to see if you’re attached to something disgusting (other than your ex) on Facebook:

  • Locate the App Center on the left-hand side of your Facebook interface. It won’t be on your wall, but you’ll locate it easily on your News Feed. It’s important that you don’t go clicking on random applications in your feed and you actually grab onto the App Center as any other selection will just waste your time. I mean, those farms aren’t going to tend to themselves, you know?
  • Click on My Apps and start looking. Peruse the heaviest-handed offenders in your App Center and see what has permission to post on your wall and just which ones would test positive for adware. Unlicensed app games, “design” functions, and one-use applications for things like quotations, horoscopes, or generators will often enough be filled to the brim with adware as well as privacy-chewing codes that will act dubious with your personal info. Get rid of those. As you can see from my screenshot of my personal app center, sometimes they’re sparkly and clean and not once will you take note of a “LOVE FINDER” or “Wats Mai Harascope” attached to anything I do. No, my friends, I’m like the innocent girl next door when it comes to my apps. If I don’t like the look of you or I find out you ride a motorcycle and live by your own rules, chances are I’m not adding your application. I’ll just admire you from the safety of my window in my heavily guarded and pristine home.
  • Scrub out the background pages. Once you’ve dropped the applications from your Facebook wall, go up into your browser’s add-on history. In Chrome, this is done by clicking the wrench symbol and selecting Background Pages. Do you see something Facebook app related in here? Perhaps that cutesy “Dislike” button app that you thought was a good idea? Kill it. With fire. It’s probably been latching onto you like an animated Chuck Jones flea.
  • Restart your browser and view the beauty of a Facebook with no ads, my darlings.
Not-so-friendly Requests: Adware on Facebook

What a clean App Center might look like. Notice the lack of farms, big-headed cartoon people, or mafias.

True enough, it took a bit of research to find out just where the source of application-based adware was coming from on Facebook and just how to properly get rid of it. It all started from an innocent glance over my mother’s laptop screen, but brewed into something far more righteous. I caused me to stalk from one laptop to the next, checking friends and families for adware splattered Facebook interfaces to see just how deep the rabbit hole was going, you know? What I stumbled upon was something that disappointed me because not enough people have been educated on the matter, and those who were thinking Facebook was behind the advertisements were just making unfair assumptions.

While playing fast and loose with our private information at times, Facebook still holds to a code of ethics and it seems it’s fast to work on fixes to the holes in our experience. If you or someone you love has been overrun by fake friend requests or links to understanding westernized men and more, help them out. Be a friend.

What kind of experiences have you run into on Facebook — with adware or even applications — that have hindered your intended experience on the social media network?

Article Written by

Mouthy with a broad vocabulary and a large imagination, I come in from a rather lengthy (7+ years) stay in video game journalism. While tech, gamer and geek culture has always been my strength, I tend to be right at home with whatever topic is thrown my way. I'm a mother, a multi-tasker and a maverick. ♥

  • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

    Even if social networking services and/or web browsers and/or installed protection software could keep up with these exploits, this is never going to end. These tactics are modeled to elicit a certain kind of human behavior – and that approach (and end result) is not going to change anytime soon.

    Our humanity is the ultimate security weakness. That’s why this stuff “works.”

  • Cameron Ryan

    You tend to see those types of Ads on BitTorrent Trackers.

  • http://netsperience.org decibel_places

    you mean next time a sexy girl wants to make a date with me on Facebook I’m not getting laid? ‡¡‡

  • http://twitter.com/Out_Lived OutLived Classifieds

    ;) wtf are you looking for in fb to find this stuff? ;)