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Does anyone know what this thing is and how to get rid of it?

Smiley bar

Thanks

edit: It seems to be related to "funpartyfactory" news:Your.buddy.sent.you.a.cool.Emoticon,.to.get.it.click

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Some how you must have installed it. First thing I would do is run an anti virus. I suspect that's what you have.

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Sadly this garbage is not detected by most scanners. – cptloop Nov 25 '11 at 18:37
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Uninstall SweetIM for Messenger and SweetIM Toolbar.

It spams contacts with news:Your.buddy.sent.you.a.cool.Emoticon,.to.get.it.click -random URL here-

Additional details at the Spybot forum.

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