Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the opening keynote at the Facebook F8 Conference in San Jose, California, on April 30, 2019. (AFP / Amy Osborne)

Commenting with the word ‘gratula’ on Facebook does not verify that your account is ‘safe’, company says

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

Multiple Facebook posts shared thousands of times claim that typing the word “gratula” into a comments section on Facebook will help to verify whether your account’s security is “safe”. The claim is false; Facebook said its platform does not use such a method to indicate whether a user’s account is “safe”.

The claim was published here on Facebook on July 20, 2020. It has been shared more than 1,000 times.

The text post is accompanied by a picture of Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg and two other screenshots of Facebook users posting the comment “Gratula”. 

A screenshot of the misleading post, taken on June 22, 2020

The post’s Malay-language caption translates to English as: “The best. Mark zuckerberg chief executive of facebook creates a new word GRATULA to make sure your facebook account is safe. Type GRATULA in the comments if it's red, your account is still safe. if it doesn't turn to red, please change your facebook password. Your account has been hacked! Congratulations to the red one.”

A similar claim was published in Facebook posts here, here and here, and has been shared more than 6,300 times. Some posts date back to 2018.

The claim is false, Facebook said.

In an email on July 22, 2020, a Facebook spokesperson told AFP: “Some words on Facebook are animated or colour coded in News Feed. Posting a specific word to Facebook does not secure your account. Security is built into every Facebook product and we offer several security features, such as login alerts and two-factor authentication, to help you add an extra layer of protection to your account. We encourage all people to review and update their safety settings. More details are (available) here.”

Facebook users can also report issues that occur on their accounts here.

“Gratula” is not a new word. It means “congrats” in Hungarian.

AFP has debunked several claims in multiple languages related to Facebook. The posts include a scam tactic in Nigeria to gain Facebook followers; purported charges for Facebook platform usage; a new policy giving Facebook full access to user content; and a hoax about Facebook hackers.