If you are seeing a new search box on the top of Facebook pages, the company thinks you may be infected by some kind of malware.
Images of a Facebook page with two search boxes surfaced March 24 on AllFacebook.com prompting speculation about the social networking giant’s potential foray into search. In the image, the standard box that lets you search Facebook is visible at the top of the page, but just to the right of it is another search box reading “Search the Web.”
A Facebook spokeswoman dismissed those rumors on March 25.
“We are not testing the placement of a separate web search field and have no plans to do so,” a Facebook spokeswoman said in a statement. “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 the users are seeing the search box or think their browser may have been infected, users can use McAfee’s free browser-based virus scanning tool to clean their machines, the spokeswoman suggested.
Since Facebook’s partnership with Microsoft allows users to sign in to document sharing site Docs.com with a Facebook ID, and Facebook “Likes” are factored into Bing search results, there was some speculation that Facebook was working with Bing to promote search.
Considering Facebook has limited what information is searchable by outside search engines, adding a search box would have really been a departure for the company.