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Copy and Paste Exposes Your Identity

Have you ever wondered why some of your “friends” post items they ask you to copy and paste rather than share?




Most likely, they didn’t ask you. They simply copied and pasted the item themselves that they saw on another Friend's post. It’s a sort of like a chain letter, which aims to reach as wide an audience as possible- and they can't do that without your help. Now the purpose could certainly be dubious — but hardly ever.


First, you need to understand something important about the way sharing and copy/pasting work on Facebook...

when you "share" a post from someone who has tightly controlled privacy settings, their privacy status effectively restricts who can see it. It can’t be made “public” and may not even be further shareable. But when you "copy and paste" an item, you’re really creating a new post that can be seen by all your friends and beyond. In other words, it gets wider circulation.


You’re being used to help amplify a reach. That’s not all. By copying and pasting, you’re effectively enabling the original poster to track everyone else who is repeating it.


The original poster inserts some text (usually a couple of spelling mistakes; certain special characters, emojis) anything they can track. Then they do a search using the misspelled phrase. This returns a list of everyone who has copied and pasted the message. Now, let’s say the message was about cancer, child hunger, domestic abuse or another subject that you may care or be concerned about. Why wouldn't you copy and paste it? Well, because you're falling victim or helping in the scam- they're pulling on your heart strings. We have to be smarter than that. One simple way to be proactive instead of reactive is to ask WHY DO I HAVE TO COPY/PASTE THIS? To show others that I CARE about this? I can do that just by sharing this. The truth is, some of these scams will tell you NOT to "share" but to Copy & Paste the post instead. When you see that- run!


If you do copy and paste these posts (please stoppppppp!) then the original poster will now have a list of people who seem to support the cause, message, etc., and they can go about trying to contact you and/or them via Facebook with “friend” requests and other messages.


Their findings could also contribute to a profile of you that some marketing and research companies build. Furthermore, the original poster can delete their message and, therefore, not be easily traceable, while the copied-and-pasted versions live on.

That’s not what happens with a shared message. If you delete something you shared, all the forward-shared versions of it disappear as well. That's why they NEED you to copy and paste for it to be effective. However, knowing this information, I wouldn't even "share" it, never mind C & P.


The same tracking tactic works for any message. You know, the type that says something like, “If you agree, comment or "I bet most won't do this but..." Again, by doing a search, the original poster will be able to identify all his/her supporters.


"In 2017, when I (as part of a Team) took the time to research the Copy & Paste scams, we found that 328 MILLION dollars were scammed from Americans... and that was what we were able to track. That's why I get so crazy when I see you copying and pasting! " 🤣


Another chain-style trick that I'm seeing lately that Scammers apply is to solicit information about you by offering to tell you something trivial about yourself, like which celebrity you most resemble, or which one would make you a perfect partner, or some other trick created to pique your curiosity.


They might ask your birth date, your favorite color or even your mother’s maiden name. See where this is leading? You’re giving information about yourself that potentially could be used for identity theft. Plus, by taking part in this “game,” your celebrity identity (or whatever) is entered into the post’s comment field, which means the message will now most likely go to your friends.


So before copying and pasting, adding a comment, or playing the celebrity game, it makes sense to pause and consider the possible implications of what you’re doing — and the information you’re giving away about yourself AND others.









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