Is Selene Delgado Lopez stalking you? The truth behind the Facebook friend you can’t unfriend, and why it matters.
Like many thousands of other social media users, I awoke this morning and checked my messages across the various platforms. Unusually for me, it was Facebook that had the most unread and awaiting my attention. The message from members of my social network was essentially the same: “Are you friends with Selene Delgado Lopez? Look her up, and you’ll see you are, and you can’t unfriend her. Be warned; blocking is the only option.”
Those not warning me about the mysterious Selene Delgado Lopez character were asking me for help in unfriending her and wanting to know how she could have become a friend in the first place. Here’s the thing, I can pretty safely say that Selene Delgado Lopez is not your Facebook friend.
That’s why you can’t unfriend her. She’s not a friend; she’s a hoax, a hoax that has gone viral. So, who is Selene Delgado Lopez? Here’s what we know so far and why this kind of viral warning syndrome can be problematical to your privacy and more.
Is Selene Delgado Lopez your Facebook friend?
No, nope, and not at all. What she is, is a hoax. Simple as. Although it’s not really clear when or where the hoax started, the Selene Delgado Lopez is on your friend list and can’t be removed warning is real enough. No, you didn’t add her to your friend list, which should be the first clue here.
It’s a unique enough name that you’d likely remember, huh? Secondly, most of the warning messages I’ve seen so far appear to claim that Selene Delgado Lopez has not only somehow managed to become your friend, but is also friends with everyone else on Facebook. That would be kind of hard, seeing as Facebook has a 5,000 friend limit.
Nonetheless, some of the messages encourage you to check yourself and get your friends to check as well. Doing so might well reveal an account with no ‘add friend’ button and a ‘send message’ one instead.
This, apparently, was enough to convince most folk that they were somehow already friends with Selene Delgado Lopez. Actually, you can edit your Facebook account so as to have the add friend button disabled by only allowing such requests from ‘friends of friends’ rather than everyone. Instead of hitting add friend, a user would need to send a message and get the account to send them a friend request in return.
So, who is Selene Delgado Lopez?
That’s where things take a turn in the direction of strangeville. Whoever was behind the original Selene Delgado Lopez account established to perpetuate the hoax, and there are now multiple accounts, of course, did their homework. Instead of choosing any fabricated name, they opted for something from online urban legend instead.
It would appear that Selene Delgado Lopez was a Mexican woman who went missing 30 years ago and was featured in ‘missing persons’ segments between adverts on a Mexican TV channel.
One of those segment videos was posted online in the early hours only to be deleted again later, apparently as part of a marketing campaign by the TV channel. These were meant to be creepy, meant to provoke a chilled spine, and it seems like they did.
Once more, Selene Delgado Lopez was back in the media spotlights for some. It was then that, it has been reported, online accounts in her name started appearing. These all feature the same photograph of an as yet unidentified woman. If you know who this woman is, or are the lady in question, please do contact me.
Why does any of this matter?
For most people, the answer to the ‘why does this matter?’ question would be it doesn’t. It’s just some online troll having a laugh and managing to ride a viral wave. Right?
Well, sorry, but I’m not most people: I’m a cybersecurity and privacy geek. For me, any and every such hoax, especially those that go viral, are just another risk to be publicized and torn down. Social media users need to be able to identify these hoaxes rather than taken in by them; they need to be able to delete and move on rather than distribute and expand the deception.
Why? Because, even if the Selene Delgado Lopez viral warnings have no malicious intent, that’s not always the case. Indeed, because Selene Delgado Lopez messages have gone viral, the chances are high that pretty soon, they will become weaponized by folk looking to grab login credentials or get you to download malware.
“Hoaxes like this can have seemingly innocent effects at the beginning, but the truth is that at the speed they can spread,” Jake Moore, a cybersecurity specialist at ESET, says, “you have the possibility of misinformation being added which can cause it to go out of control.”
Moore is reminded of the Momo challenge from last year, “these campaigns can have dangerous outcomes and be even worse when copycat versions appear, he says, concluding, “it is a timely reminder to research who you are befriending on social media and never connect with just anyone before you really know who they are.”
To which I would add, please let your family and friends know about this viral hoax, point them at this article if you like, to prevent them from potentially getting caught up in something malicious.
It’s one thing being warned about Selene Delgado Lopez and told to go search for her on Facebook, but how long before there’s a link to a supposed search for your convenience or another that can unfriend her in one click?
It doesn’t take long to get caught out in a scam, as this report on what can happen in one malicious minute online reveals. Don’t be that person, and remember that Selene Delgado Lopez is not your friend.