Jayden K. Smith is Not a Hacker And Won't Steal Your Facebook Data

Staying ahead of hoaxes, scams, phishing attempts, and fraud on the internet is something everyone has to worry about.

So it was in the spirit of "we're all in this together" that Facebook users unthinkingly shared a status update on the site and on Messenger, warning their friends not to accept a friend request from a Jayden K. Smith, as doing so would enable their entire contacts list to be hacked.

The warning went around Facebook over the weekend, almost always written out like this:

Confusing things even more is the fact that actor Will Smith's son is named Jaden, and is known for strange social media posts. His name was even previously used in a phishing virus going around Facebook.

While these messages were well-intentioned, they were also a waste of time. Jayden K. Smith is not a master hacker gathering up Facebook profiles by the score. Despite the panic over his exploits, he doesn't exist, and Facebook users can't be hacked simply by requesting a friend request.

Rather than being either a master hacker or the Fresh Prince's son, he's actually the latest iteration of a hoax that's older than Facebook: the dire warning that even the slightest contact with someone nefarious will expose you to online ruin.

As Snopes puts it in an article about the Smith hoax, "variants of these messages are circulated endlessly, with different names swapped in and out as various pranksters decide to play jokes on people they know by inserting their acquaintances’ names and addresses into the warning in place of the existing information."

In two different debunkings of the hoax, Snopes runs down a seemingly endless string of alleged hackers, perverts, and cyber criminals just waiting for you to accept their friend request or open their email to get access to your innermost thoughts. Some include [sic]:

  • Maggie from Sweden, a hacker noted for "repeated sexual harassment and indecent private chatting"
  • BOBBY ROBERTS, a hacker with the ability to "DESTROY EVERYTHING!!!"
  • Various hacking couples, including Amy and Jason Allen; and Jessica and Christopher Davies
  • Other long lists of names or aliases who will copy and save your children's pictures to sell them to pornographers

To illustrate just how rampant this hoax is, just days before the Jayden K. Smith hysteria picked up steam, the same warnings were going around using "Anwar Jitou" as the dreaded super-hacker. Apparently, the Jitou hoax originated among Italian Facebook users, then was translated into English (accounting for some of the warning's odd phrasing), then the name was swapped out for Jayden K. Smith.

No matter what name the alleged hacker uses, they'll have their work cut out for them, because there's no way to hack someone's computer simply by becoming Facebook friends with them. As the Telegraph explains, even if Jayden K. Smith was spamming out friend requests, "they would not be able to hack into an account just by becoming a friend." 

However, many established scams, such as information-harvesting surveys, phishing links, and romance scams can begin with a friend request. And if your security isn't buttoned up, random people can use accepted friend requests to glean data from a poorly-secured page, possibly leading to identity theft.

That's why experts advise not to accept any friend request from a person you don't know.

Fortunately, neither Jayden K. Smith, Anwar Jitou, Maggie from Sweden, nor any other hacker will be sending you such a request. You also don't have to worry about all your Facebook photos becoming public, or a Facebook subscription fee coming unless you cut and paste a certain status. These hoaxes are as much a part of Facebook as likes and FOMO.