This illustration photo taken in Los Angeles on October 28, 2021, shows a person using Facebook on a smartphone in front of a computer screen showing the META logo. ( AFP / Chris DELMAS)

Posts share false 'tip' for verifying Facebook account security

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

Social media posts shared hundreds of times in Myanmar claim that commenting with the letters "Gg" on a Facebook post can verify whether the commenter's account is secure. Since the 2021 military coup, the platform has been banned in Myanmar, but some internet-savvy users have managed to circumvent the social media block with VPN services. However, a representative for Facebook's parent company Meta told AFP that the posts shared a false claim. A professor of cyber security also told AFP that the posts were "bogus"

The claim was shared on Facebook here on January 26, 2022.

The Burmese-language post -- which has been reshared more than 100 times -- translates to English as: "Check your Facebook account regularly. Because of [your] VPN, it gets locked all the time.

"To check whether your account is safe or not, you just need to type "Gg" in the comment section. If it turns pink, it means your account is safe."

Screenshot taken on February 16, 2022 of the misleading post

Following a military coup in February 2021 that overthrew Myanmar's civilian leaders, the junta has cracked down on internet use and banned social media platforms including Facebook. 

However, some internet-savvy users have managed to circumvent the social media block with VPN services, AFP reported.

Similar posts were also shared here, here, here and here -- which prompted social media users to comment "Gg". 

However, the claim in the posts is false.

"Some words on Facebook are animated or colour coded in the News Feed," a spokesperson for Meta told AFP.

"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."

Kevin Curran, a professor of cyber security at Ulster University, also told AFP the claim in the posts was "completely bogus".

"The "GG" fist bump is a deliberate engineering feature called "text delights" which has existed on the site since 2017," Curran said.

"It is not officially publicised -- it is harmless fun by Facebook. [It has] nothing to do with the security of anyones' Facebook."

AFP previously debunked a similar false claim after it circulated online in Malaysia.

AFP works with Facebook's fact-checking programme in more than 80 countries and 24 languages.