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Facebook's 'porn and gore' epidemic: 4 theories
Facebook users have been facing awkward moments as graphic images of a sexual and violent nature turn up in their feeds. Who's behind this debacle?
 
If your Facebook page is getting this kind of response, you may have fallen prey to a widespread porn-and-violent-image spam attack that hit the social networking site.
If your Facebook page is getting this kind of response, you may have fallen prey to a widespread porn-and-violent-image spam attack that hit the social networking site.
Hill Street Studios/Blend Images/Corbis

Facebook has a real "porn and gore" problem on its hands: Starting last week, Facebook users who innocently clicked a tempting link inadvertently flooded their feeds with extremely graphic images of sex acts, mutilated animals and people, and even "Jesus porn," automatically posted for all their friends to see. This Tuesday, after users took to Twitter to vent their disgust with "unstoppable torrents of hardcore pornography and gory, violent pictures," and threaten to decamp to Google+, Facebook acknowledged the issue, blamed it on a "coordinated spam attack," and said it was fixing the problem. But who's to blame for Facebook's flood of photos of dead dogs, Justin Bieber photoshopped into compromising positions, and naked octogenarians? Here, four theories:

1. Blame Anonymous
The most likely suspect is the hacktivist collective Anonymous, which recently threatened "to attack Facebook using a powerful 'Guy Fawkes virus' they developed," says Kevin Parrish in Tom's Guide. That virus purportedly takes control of your Facebook account and then infects your friends' accounts. Need more proof? Anonymous posted a video last Thursday "blatantly admitting to the Facebook attack." I buy it, says Adrian Chen in Gawker. "Spamming gore and porn is definitely one of Anonymous' trademark moves."

2. No, other hackers are behind this
"I find it hard to believe that Anonymous would stoop to this," says Chris Matyszczyk in CNET News. And "indeed, Facebook told CNET it knows who is responsible" for this malicious, massive spam attack, and is readying legal action. Even if Anonymous is not officially behind this, says Emil Protalinski in ZDNet, it only takes a few "ex-members to pull something like this off."

3. Blame Facebook itself
The flood of violent and pornographic photos and video links is actually "the type of spam we've seen on Facebook before," says Protalinski, only now it's "coming in at a much faster pace." Even the link bait is the same — "Kim Kardashian, etc.," says Violet Blue in ZDNet. So what's changed? "Facebook's recent timeline upgrades" make that spam easier to propagate. And while grannies and impressionable teens are the ones being exposed to this trash, the attack is "a bizarrely clever slap at the one thing Facebook is such an extreme hypocrite about": Adult content.

4. Hackers couldn't have done this without gullible users
Well, "my own Facebook news feed is image-spam free," says Kashmir Hill in Forbes. Why? My Facebook friends and I apparently aren't "unwise enough" to fall for the bait. Unless you click on links in messages like "OMG, I can’t believe Kim did this" or "Wow, I can't believe you did this in this video. I LOLed," you and your friends won't "end up with naked grandmas and photoshopped teen idols in your feed."

 

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