According to a new warning message making the rounds on Facebook, users should not accept friend requests from Jayden K. Smith. Jayden K. Smith is out to falsely seek your virtual friendship just to hack your account. Jayden K. Smith is after you and all your friends. Jayden K. Smith is not your friend. So, who the heck is Jayden K. Smith, and why is this person suddenly out to hack as many Facebook accounts as possible? Actually, Jayden K. Smith the nefarious hacker doesn't exist, and the whole thing is just the latest iteration of a tried-and-true internet hoax. Friends (Facebook-official and otherwise), there's no reason to share that message on the social network.
Versions of this hoax have been circulating via Facebook Messenger for years, with Facebook users with pure hearts acting in good faith sending it to their friends in an effort to protect them. Although the name of the hacker and the exact wording of the missive changes, the content follows a formula that pretty much mirrors the panic surrounding the one featuring the alleged bad actor du jour, Jayden K. Smith. It reads:
Please tell all the contacts in your messenger list not to accept Jayden K. Smith friendship request. He is a hacker and has the system connected to your Facebook account. If one of your contacts accepts it, you will also be hacked, so make sure that all your friends know it. Thanks.
Sometimes, it's not Jayden K. Smith who's out to wreak havoc on your Facebook account and beyond, but some equally benign and fictional character like Anwar Jitou, Tanner Dwyer, or Bobby Roberts, according to The Telegraph. The good news is that even if Jayden, Anwar, Tanner, Bobby, and their ilk had colluded to form a hacking ring by firing off Facebook friend requests to strangers, the plan wouldn't work. The fact-checker site Snopes reported that "accepting a Facebook friend request from a stranger will not provide hackers with access to your computer and online accounts."
What's really going on in many of these cases, according to the site, is that Facebookers are inserting the names of people they know into these ubiquitous warnings just to prank those (real-life, non-hacker) people.
Still, the hoopla the Jayden K. Smith situation has drummed up is not for naught. It's an important reminder that accepting friend requests from people you do not know at all can be an unsafe practice. As The Independent pointed out, permitting anyone access to your page could clue them in on personal details like your address, birthday, and phone number — info that those with bad intentions can use to potentially guess passwords to other online accounts. It's not exactly what Jayden K. Smith has in mind, but it's a possibility worth considering — and maybe even messaging your friends about.