If you’re on Facebook, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a few (or a few hundred) of your friends sharing a copy-and-pasted warning about a hacker named Jayden K. Smith recently. You may have even shared it yourself, because according to the warning, sharing the message would help others not fall victim to hacking.
Here’s how the warning was worded, although there are several variations floating around:
Please tell all the contacts in your messenger list not to accept Jayden K. Smith friendship request. He is a hacker and has the system connected to your Facebook account. If one of your contacts accepts it, you will also be hacked, so make sure that all your friends know it. Thanks. Forwarded as received. Hold your finger down on the message. At the bottom in the middle it will say forward. Hit that then click on the names of those in your list and it will send to them.
It’s easy to see why the warning got so much traction so quickly: It reads as a helpful word of caution that might help your friends avoid the massive hassle of having their Facebook account hacked. Why wouldn’t you share it?
There’s just one problem: the helpful message about Jayden K. Smith? It’s a hoax. The claims of the post were confirmed to be false by Snopes and news sites worldwide, but not in time to stop it from spreading.
Anything regarding hacking and Facebook is understandably frightening because our Facebook accounts are so personal. Also, due to automatic log-ins connected to your Facebook account, if a hacker does gain access to your account, they can often get into other sites you might have tied to Facebook (Netflix and Spotify, for example), some of which may have your credit card information.
If you suspect you have been hacked for real, here are some tips on how to tell, and what actions to take right away to minimize the consequences.
That being said, there’s no way that simply accepting a friend request can give someone access to your Facebook account or computer. So if you shared the Jayden K. Smith warning, you can hit delete and rest easy.