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Facebook looking into spate of graphic images

Facebook may have been hacked, with a flood of graphic images intruding on people's news feeds.

Has Facebook been hacked? The company announced last night it was looking into reports people were seeing a glut of graphic violent and sexual images on their news feeds, The Washington Post reports.

On Monday ZDNet reported unwanted images were flooding news feeds, describing it as "an out of control exploit that has users angry and disgusted, while seemingly mocking Facebook's notorious conservative content controls."

In a statement, Facebook's Andrew Noyes said the company was investigating. "Protecting the people who use Facebook from spam and malicious content is a top priority for us and we are always working to improve our systems to isolate and remove material that violates our terms," he said.

"We have recently experienced an increase in reports and we are investigating and addressing the issue."

The images could be part of a scam, tricking people into clicking the images to release viruses into their accounts, giving hackers access to the innocent party's profile. Or maybe hacker group Anonymous has followed through its threat from earlier this month to release a virus that would "take down Facebook". Though the group usually claims responsibility, and as yet there's on word on who's behind it.

People have been straight to Twitter to complain. "Discovered a new porn site, it's called Facebook," tweeted one, reports the BBC. "Facebook should do something about the photoshopped porn images, it's offensive," tweeted another.

Some of the images were so graphic people have claimed to deactivated their accounts.

Have you seen anything suspect popping up in your news feed? Let us know on our -- completely family-friendly -- Facebook page.

Update: Facebook contacted us with a further comment.

"Protecting the people who use Facebook from spam and malicious content is a top priority for us. Recently, we experienced a spam attack that exploited a browser vulnerability," a spokesperson said.

"Our team responded quickly and we have eliminated most of the spam caused by this attack. We are now working to improve our systems to better defend against similar attacks in the future.

"During this spam attack users were tricked into pasting and executing malicious JavaScript in their browser URL bar causing them to unknowingly share this offensive content. No user data or accounts were compromised during this attack."

As well as implementing "back-end measures to reduce the rate of these attacks", Facebook advises people to protect themselves by never copying and pasting unknown code into their address bar, always using an up-to-date browser, and using the report links on the site to flag suspicious behaviour or content.