Facebook obligatory anti-malware scan: is it a nuisance?

Anti-malware scans always seem like a good idea: what could go wrong? Apparently, a lot can. Especially if you force users to scan their devices and the anti-malware tool does not work with their operating system. Facebook has been offering these scans for a while now. However, they do not have the best reputation among the users of this giant social networking site. The Internet is full of negative comments about this feature, but the situation has become worse than ever.

Facebook members are locked-out until they run the mandatory scans

While the anti-malware scans that Facebook was offering were optional before, now the network has made it mandatory. If your device has been red-flagged as potentially infected with malware, that is. Users have been reporting that Facebook is forcing them to run a scan. If they do not agree, they will be unable to use this social networking site.

Facebook anti-malware scans

However, Facebook might have not though this through. The software they are offering to run a scan with is not fit for everyone: it is focused on Windows operating systems and does not work for Mac or Linux users. So, if you are not using Windows, how can you get back your access to Facebook?

Not all Facebook users can relate to people that are reporting the problems with the anti-malware scan. Apparently, a relatively small number of people, considering the actual number of accounts registered, are bothered by this. Members have also found flaws in this feature as well.

The warning disappears if users use a different browser, or if another person logs into their account while using the same allegedly compromised device. Therefore, there are ways to escape the lock-out, but this only shows how flawed the anti-malware scans really are.

A good idea, but poorly executed

In general, forcing people to run scan is not an idea that we disapprove entirely. Sometimes people need a little push to take care of their cyber security, and if disabling their access to Facebook makes them clean their OS, this does not seem like such a bad deal. However, since the feature clearly needs some more improving, it is not working exactly how the Facebook specialists might have planned. Instead of receiving praises for their efforts, they are being criticized for a feature that clearly needs some more time to be developed.

There are also some other downsides as well. For instance, Facebook is not that well-informed about users’ computers: how does it know which people fall into the group of the possibly compromised? It appears the network might be taking some shots in the dark, hoping that their scans will help someone, but not necessarily everyone.

In addition to this, anti-virus tools get access to all of your computer content. Naturally, this might be unacceptable to some users who already fear that Facebook has too much information about them. Overall, forcing users to run scans might be a clever idea on one hand, but the way Facebook executed it is not the best.

Source: wired.com.

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