Hijackers Take Over Hundreds of Facebook Groups

Yesterday morning, nearly 300 groups were hijacked and renamed by Control Your Info. Those responsible say they are trying to highlight how easy it is for people to lose track of part of their online presence. The social network maintains no actual hacking took place and says the group did not get any confidential information.

CYI's website details the groups actions:

"We discovered that many groups on Facebook are left without an administrator … So we simply joined 289 open groups and made ourselves administrators. We did not hack anything. Once we were administrators we owned the groups and could have changed any setting. We chose to change the picture, the name and the description of every group. Our intention was and is to restore these groups to their original form and find a suitable admin among the members. To be able to do this, we first backed up all the data we wanted to replace."

Administrators have the power to change the name of the group to whatever they like, edit information on the group, send messages to members and moderate discussions. Control Your Info proved this by pasting a message onto the wall of every group it assumed control of.

"Hello, we hereby announce that we have officially hijacked your Facebook group. This means we control a certain part of the information about you on Facebook. If we wanted we could make you appear in a bad way which could damage your image severly. For example we could rename your group and call it something very inappropriate and nasty, like 'I support paedophile's rights'. But have no fear — we won't."

Facebook confirmed to ComputerWorld that, once a group administrator leaves, any one of the members is free to assume the position of admin but said that no confidential information is accessible to group admins.

*image via CNET

Jane McEntegart works in marketing communications at Intel and was previously Manager of Content Marketing at ASUS North America. Before that, she worked for more than seven years at Tom's Guide and Tom's Hardware, holding such roles as Contributing Editor and Senior News Editor and writing about everything from smartphones to tablets and games consoles.

  • stridervm
    Well, another case of the usual user problem, not Facebook.

    I hope this does help people about the issue at hand though.

    Will they get sued? The plot thickens... =P
  • adaman2576
    Someone could have real fun with this.

    I don't remember becoming a fan of "being a butt pirate". I was a fan of being a pirate. Now my 800 friends that I've never met are gonna make fun of me.
  • ubertiger
    It is a facebook problem, because they're the ones who are going to be sued by some douche when this actually and some controversy is caused. It seems like a simple stupid security loophole to do with group and admin rights. The admin's shouldn't be allowed to leave a group without appointing someone else to takeover unless the shut the whole thing down. That's kinda common sense, you wouldn't let the leader of any other group/society in real life leave without appointing someone to takeover. There'd be anarchy...
  • hellwig
    First off, its stupid to have a Facebook account, period. That said, imagine if someone took over your "I Love Puppies" group, and renamed it "I Strangle Puppies". Then imagine your boss, or a potential employer, happens upon your facebook page, and doesn't think its very funny you support puppy strangling. You could lose a job or be denied a new job, all because you couldn't resist the sirens call to be part of something stupid on the internet. Was friending a bunch of people you haven't seen since highschool really worth it at that point?
  • doc70
    stridervmWell, another case of the usual user problem, not Facebook.I hope this does help people about the issue at hand though.Will they get sued? The plot thickens... =PFacebook should have better rules regarding admin rights of a group.
    Otherwise, see ubertiger's comment...
    But I dont't use it, so I don't care.
  • Cmhone
    Right on Hellwig; a co-worker's niece is in danger of losing her scholarship because of what she put out on the internet. It was a Myspace page, but the point is still the same.
  • precariousgray
    CmhoneRight on Hellwig; a co-worker's niece is in danger of losing her scholarship because of what she put out on the internet. It was a Myspace page, but the point is still the same.Meanwhile, the people currently working at screwing her out of a scholarship are likely doing things just as bad, or worse, if the behavior in question was even reprehensible at all to begin with.

    It's a wonderful world!
  • MountainFlip
    This is an easy fix for Facebook.

    If Group admin leaves the group, then the new group admin will be granted to the senior member.

    (Senior member = member with earliest join date)

    Issue resolved.
  • AW-Levi
    I guess they should have seen this coming. And the shameful thing is that there wasn't any hacking, just a simple trick. Simple, refined and of course unexpected.
    But luckily there is a fix to every problem. That is until something else will happen. :(
  • jalek
    They couldn't find anyone to actually test their systems on Facebook?
    I guess there aren't any bored people there.