Too Soon to Tell Whether ‘Be Like Bill’ Meme Poses Security Threat: BBB | NBC Chicago

Too Soon to Tell Whether ‘Be Like Bill’ Meme Poses Security Threat: BBB

The BBB is trying to better understand who’s behind the generator and exactly how it works

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    Blobla/Getting Images

    Call them what you want, but the “Be Like Bill” memes are currently having a moment on Facebook.

    Several news outlets have reported that the stick figure memes may be a potential “clickbait trap” and could pose a risk to your personal information. However, the Better Business Bureau has not yet definitely ruled whether the generated memes pose a risk to you or your computer.

    The sensation's creator, Bloba, on the other hand says they don't collect any data from users and their terms are the same as any others you see on Facebook.

    "First, our game Be Like Bill doesn't require users to authorize a Facebook app," a spokesperson for Bloba wrote in response. "Of course if users want to share the results to Facebook, they must be logged in Facebook. However we use Facebook share dialog for users to share their results. It's a very common ... This doesn't allow us to collect any data from user's Facebook account."

    "Second, we do not store any information of users on our servers, as stated in our ToS," Bloba continued. "Third, the Terms about our right to users' content is about posts on our website (a post may be a game like Be Like Bill, or a quiz, a video...). Because our website has a function for normal users to create a post in other languages. We have removed that term to avoid misunderstanding."

    The BBB, which provides information on ethical business practices, has been inundated with phone calls from “Be Like Bill” users worried about their privacy, according to Steve Bernas, President and CEO of Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois.

    Bernas told NBC Chicago that the BBB is trying to better understand who’s behind the generator, exactly how it works, and what, if any, ramifications can come with entering your information.

    To create a personalized “Be Like Bill” meme, users can type their name into a generator on blobla.com and enter his or her gender. After clicking “show my story,” the generator creates an image featuring a stick figure and a funny caption. 

    Be like Bill.

    Posted by Be like Bill on Tuesday, January 26, 2016


    On Jan. 21, the BBB released a warning about “Facebook IQ Test Traps,” designed to have users click on links on social media to provide personal information. However, nowhere in the alert does the BBB warn against “Bill Like Me” memes.

    The BBB is investigating the stick figure generator, according to Bernas. He told NBC Chicago that the agency is worried about hackers creating look-a-likes, and warns everyone to be careful and to not give out personal information freely. Bernas did not have a timeline for the investigation.

    Blobla has not had any security issues, according to the website’s co-founder.

    The site’s terms of service reads “your information you provide to us is used only to generate the results for the games you play or the quizzes you take. We do not store your information on our server, nor we provide it to 3rd parties.”

    Blobla recently updated its terms of service to remove a sentence according to its co-founder. The deleted statement read “you will allow us to use, edit your content with our service permanently, no limit and no recover,” according to Blobla. Its creators deleted the sentence to avoid confusion, because the term only applied to posts on their website, not the results of users.

    The original story that was published to KFVS12 has also been updated to reflect the misunderstanding.

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