Is there a ghost in my computer, or is it Russian hackers?
October 5, 2017 11:26 AM   Subscribe

For the last 6 months or so, weird stuff has been happening when I logged onto Facebook--now it's started with Twitter. What is going on? Are my accounts hacked?

So, this is what happens. As I scroll down the Facebook feed, things start going blank, disappearing from the page, until it's just--a gray page. Then the window reloads and tells me that something failed--but it's still blank. And even if I manually type the URL into the search bar and hit enter again, it still refuses to load. I have to close it out and wait several minutes.

Today, this started to happen with Twitter. I'm not a heavy user of twitter and usually use Facebook just to read updates from groups and learn about events, though I do comment on friends' posts sometimes. I have used my facebook ID to log on to various services.

This doesn't happen with any other websites, and it happens across all browsers. The only site I've ever had similar problems viewing was Into the Gloss.

Oh, one other thing: the other day I was looking at a list of people I follow on Twitter and one of them--a person I know personally, who is not a "Christ follower" in the least--had a bio that read something like "Christ follower and innovator, trying to change the world through God." It was really weird, so I reloaded the page. This time her bio was back to normal, but ANOTHER person on my list had the exact same bio--and this person isn't a Christ follower, either.

Have these accounts been hacked? What is going on? FWIW, I'm on Mac and usually accessing these sites on Safari.
posted by Miss T.Horn to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
1. Clear your cache files on all browsers
2. Do a virus / malware scan (you do have an antivirus program, right?)
3. Change your passwords
4. Reboot computer
5. See if it's still happening
posted by ananci at 11:31 AM on October 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Do you have a virus scanner and have you tried to scan for viruses? I personally use Avast. You can also use programs like Malwarebytes or Spybot to look for any issues.

If you're having problems on certain websites across all browsers, maybe check your hosts file and see if it has anything about Facebook or Twitter in there? Maybe a long shot, but I couldn't view ESPN3 from any of my browsers and I realized some sort of malware edited my hosts file, I guess to convince me to download some sort of virus video streaming program. I don't know what operating system you have, so you'll need to google directions for finding your hosts file.

As a matter of security regardless of what's going on here, I would definitely be checking what apps and outside websites you have given access to on Facebook and Twitter and revoke any you aren't positive you use and end any ongoing sessions from devices you don't recognize. I would consider changing passwords and setting up two-factor verification as well once you've done a thorough check of your account security.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:36 AM on October 5, 2017

After you do what ananci recommends and check your hosts file, I have some questions.

it still refuses to load

Does the 'page is loading' indicator just not stop spinning? Or does it stop spinning, but nothing displays?

Does this page work or is it subject to the same problems?

I also wonder: do you watch a lot of video on this computer? If you want videos (online, offline, whatever), does anything weird happen? (I ask this because it honestly it sounds like it might be a strange display/video card issue, as both Facebook and Twitter are autoplaying-video-heavy and it might be choking your video card.)
posted by flibbertigibbet at 11:45 AM on October 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm in the process of carrying out all of the above recommendations, but wanted to answer flibbertigibbet's question: everything stops. Page is loading indicator sort of stutters, and then the page reloads and it spins again for a bit, and then just sort up and gives me a "sorry we had to reload the page" message--but the page never fully reloads at this point.

As far as video goes, I watch a few YouTube videos a week, and things auto-play on social media. Sometimes I play games on this computer, most of them little adventure games or card games. The most graphically taxing game would probably be Portal. Could any of that be overloading the video card?
posted by Miss T.Horn at 11:54 AM on October 5, 2017

Regarding your second point about the Twitter bio being wrong, I had something very similar happen on my Iphone the other day, within the Twitter app. Two people I follow showed up with the same bio, which was clearly incorrect for one of them. I reloaded and it happened to two other people. I chalked it up to a weird Twitter bug.
posted by beandip at 11:55 AM on October 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Hard drive isn't full is it? Macs start to do really weird crap when the disk gets above 90% utilized.
posted by deezil at 12:12 PM on October 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

This may not fix your problem, but a good general tip: You can turn off autoplay on both Twitter and Facebook in your settings. I've done this because, well, autoplay videos are annoying.
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:40 PM on October 5, 2017

tape up your webcam 'til it clears up.
posted by speakeasy at 1:25 AM on October 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

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