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I joined up to Facebook a few months ago – it was a good way to keep in touch with friends, plus it’s made ‘talking’ with various NZIBO colleagues easier in the sense that we can have group chats. But it’s also been a bit of an eye-opener in that it’s turned out to be another way of exposing just how gullible people can be…

For instance, this morning the following popped up via a friend’s page (names will not be used, to protect the unwary):

IT IS OFFICIAL. IT WAS EVEN ON THE NEWS. FACEBOOK WILL START CHARGING DUE TO THE NEW PROFILE CHANGES. IF YOU COPY THIS ON YOUR WALL YOUR ICON WILL TURN BLUE AND FACEBOOK WILL BE FREE FOR YOU. PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE ON, IF NOT YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE DELETED IF YOU DO NOT PAY

(All caps, heheh, never a good sign…)

The question that immediately sprang to mind was, say what?? What ‘news’, when? Why on earth would simply changing the colour of your icon make you exempt from a charge? I seriously doubt that the FB programmers would let that one slip! Plus, it seems a strange way to make money, if you’re going to have a loophole that let’s people opt out so easily :-)

So no, I didn’t pass it on. But I did go to snopes.com to see what they had to say about this particular hoax. Turns out it’s been around (in various forms) for a few years now. The last time it popped up, it was associated with a page that supposedly collected signatures for a petition against the ‘charges’. Trouble was, clicking on links within the page had some users getting some particularly graphic Naughty Pictures on their computers, along with attempts to install malicious spyware.

So do think first, before passing these things on!