sigh – another on-line hoax

By Alison Campbell 25/09/2011


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!


0 Responses to “sigh – another on-line hoax”

  • Similar to chain emails, same solution too.
    I had a relative who seemingly passed on everything to hit his in-box without filter. When challenged he asserted that if even some of it were true it was his responsibility to let his family know.
    I pointed out if caring for his family was the goal that was worth taking 2mins to investigate these things first.
    The emails stopped. I suspect not because he looked into them.

  • I come from a little Waikato farming village, and the sheer volume of stuff like this posted from people back home can be overwhelming – not just harmless scams, of course, but warnings about the dangers of vaccines, endorsements of psychics, and posts extolling the dangers of the “sickness” versus “wellness” “models of medicine”. It’s not something people can be faulted for too heavily, we were certainly never taught critical thinking in our small rural schools, nor at Thames High School. I challenge it reasonably often and I hope with some tact, but mostly that’s earned me a reputation as an antagonistic outsider.

    The challenges we make really are an ambulance at the bottom of a cliff, and I’m not sure how much effect they really have.

  • Too true.
    I have never been accused of having an over abundance of tact, so I empathise with the antagonistic outsider thing.

    I generally try to convey the sentiment that we do the most good when we pass on reliable, truthful information. I really can’t understand why that’s such a difficult sell.

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