Privacy concerns abound on social media these days, but don’t fall for this supposed trick to reveal whether your Facebook account has been hacked.
"How to check if your Facebook account is hacked," reads a May 28 Facebook post. "Simply type @[4:0] in the comment box, don’t give space. If it shows Mark Zuckerberg it means your account is not hacked. If not, then, you need to change the setting… Try it now… It works!"
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
More than 700 people had tried it by June 5 and for many of them, it seems, the series of symbols and numbers turned into the words "Mark Zuckerberg." That doesn’t mean their accounts were hacked.
Rather, as a 2011 story on the "Today" show’s website explains, the series instructs Facebook to convert the number to its corresponding Facebook page identification number.
Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook ID is 4, according to this 2011 Business Insider story about the first people to sign up for Facebook.
The "Today" story was looking at a similar post in which Facebook users were sharing a directive to copy @[251859230739:0] into a comment and then hit enter. The text then turned into the words, "I’m gay." That’s because the series of numbers in this case corresponded to a Facebook page titled "I’m gay." The series of numbers was the account’s Facebook page ID.
"Today" created a Facebook page called, "Don’t panic! This is just a test," and ran an experiment asking users to type the page’s ID number into the same formula and, you guessed it, the text changed to the words, "Don’t panic! This is just a test."
We rate this Facebook post False.
Facebook post, May 28, 2019
Today, "Why does @+[251859230739:0] become ‘I’m gay’ on Facebook?" Nov. 17, 2011
Business Insider, "The first 20 people to sign up for Facebook and how they knew Zuckerberg," May 31, 2011
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