As the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 hits its seventh day, a series of spam posts have begun appearing on Facebook pointing to links with catchy titles indicating that the aeroplane has been found. Most of the time, the links are disguised as videos and when clicked, require you to complete various tasks before you can view the video…which actually does not exist.
At the time of writing, there are already various fake Facebook posts circulating on news feeds worldwide. The catchy titles include “Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 FOUND!!!” to the less-realistic “Video of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Found in Bermuda Triangle! Passengers Alive!”. The link will show a video thumbnail, but usually with a dead giveaway: the purported hosted video site is almost always not YouTube or any reputed video hosting site. The above screenshot is one such example.
If you do click on the link, one of several things will happen, depending on the spam post. You will be redirected to a page, where you will either be
- asked to grant access for a Facebook app to post on your behalf,
- asked to share the post before you can view the non-existent video,
- asked to complete various “surveys” and pop-up offers that you will have to click through before you can view the non-existent video, or
- asked to complete one survey, but require you to enter your mobile phone number for survey results or for registration purposes. You will then unknowingly subscribe to a very expensive SMS subscription that charges a princely sum whenever the service sends a text to your phone number.
And to reiterate, no, the video does not exist.
Please take caution when seeing questionable content on your news feed. Even when these links are shared by your friends’ accounts, it is more than likely that they have been hit by the spam. As of the time of writing, flight MH370 has not yet been found and no, it is not in the Bermuda Triangle.
These insensitive acts prey upon the feelings of people desperate for any bit of information about the missing aircraft, but we urge you to stick to the official channels and not rely on social media for any information about flight MH370.
Also, be wary of the “Bomoh Escape Run” or “BOMOH” app, as its access requirements raise plenty of suspicion.