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Official: Facebook Not Testing Web Search Box, Says Malware Might Be To Blame

facebook-search-featuredFacebook is not testing a second search box on its website and says anyone who sees such a thing might be the victim of malware or some other kind of third-party app.

Earlier today, an article on All Facebook showed a user-submitted screenshot that included a second search box adjacent to the regular search at the top of Facebook’s user interface. The second box included the text “Search The Web,” prompting much speculation about a possible Facebook-Bing deal and what it would mean for both companies, as well as for Google.

A Facebook spokesperson just sent us this statement via email saying that this is not a Facebook test and is likely caused by some third-party action or tool:

We are not testing the placement of a separate web search field and have no plans to do so. We believe the second search field or “Search the Web” box appeared on peoples’ accounts as the result of unknown actions by a third party targeting the browser (potentially a browser plugin or malware) unrelated to Facebook.

If people think their browser may have been affected by malware, we offer a remediation process which includes a free browser-based virus scanning tool built by McAfee. Users are required to run this Scan and Repair tool and clean their machines of malware before accessing their account.

Facebook added Bing — well, it added Live Search, as it was known then — as its web search provider in 2008, but web search has mostly been marginalized on Facebook since then and not part of the core experience. Despite Facebook’s statement tonight, it’s not far-fetched to think that some increased use of search, perhaps via Bing, may be in the cards at some point in the future.

Postscript: Predicted Media has contacted us saying that the “Search the Web” box that appeared on some users’ Facebook pages is from a product that they offer.


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