A Facebook bot is an automated software program that is designed to create and control a fake Facebook account. A Facebook bot is completely automated software that generates a profile by scraping images and information from other sources. After setting up a fake profile, it spreads by friending other Facebook users.
In its most generic sense, a bot is any automated software that performs an automated task. While there are bots made for legitimate uses, a significant percentage are malicious. Bots on social media sites, known as social bots, fall into the category of malicious bots. Social bots present an interesting security challenge given the trust factor in social networking as well as the emotional factor of users' motivation to have as many "friends" as possible. It's not uncommon for a Facebook user to accept a friend request even though the other user isn't known. Based on the victim's security settings, allowing a Facebook bot as a friend could open up the account to potential identity theft. Facebook has strict systems in place to prevent socialbots. Even so, in a paper released in September 2011, a team from the University of British Columbia demonstrated the ability to create Facebook bots that successfully gained access to thousands of users' profile information.
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