Facebook Will NOT End On March 15th. Hoax News Story Spreads Like Wildfire

Heard a story that Facebook is going to end on March 15th? You should take it with a pinch of salt.

A story is spreading like wildfire across Facebook this weekend, claiming that the world’s most popular social network is closing on March 15th.

The reason? CEO Mark Zuckerberg claims that “managing [Facebook] has ruined my life. I need to put an end to all the madness.”

There’s only one problem with the story. It’s not true. Facebook is not going to end on March 15th, and Mark Zuckerberg never said any such thing.

But that’s not stopping many many Facebook users spreading the message.

Many of the messages include a link to an apparent news story, where users can read more about the surprising announcement of Facebook’s death.

If you click on the link, here’s where you are taken. A news story by a publication that also tells us that Mike Tyson is a pigeon fancier, Michelle Obama is pregnant and alien spaceships are to attack earth in 2011:

However, the story published by the Weekly World News is, like most of their stories, full of fabricated quotes and hyperbole. For instance, the Weekly World News story contains a made-up quote from a Facebook representative, telling users that they may lose all their photographs:

“After March 15th the whole website shuts down,” said Avrat Humarthi, Vice President of Technical Affairs at Facebook. “So if you ever want to see your pictures again, I recommend you take them off the internet. You won’t be able to get them back once Facebook goes out of business.”

I certainly wouldn’t disagree that users would be wise to have their own backup of their photographs, rather than rely on Facebook – but it’s nothing more than a scare to suggest to people that they have to do it before March 15th because Facebook is going to close down.

Most people would probably never believe such a load of old nonsense as the claim that Mark Zuckerberg is going to shut down Facebook, but it only takes a small proportion of people to think it might be possible to turn a joke of a news story into an internet hoax.

And although a hoax is nothing like as bad as a piece of malware worming its way between users and stealing information, it’s still a nuisance, clogging up communications, increasing the overall level of spam and perhaps leading people to make decisions for the wrong reasons.

There’s an important lesson here – don’t believe everything you read on the internet, and think twice before you pass a story on to your friends.

Keep your wits about you and stay informed about the latest scams, hoaxes and malware attacks spreading fast across Facebook. One of the best ways to do that is to join the Sophos Facebook page, where more than 90,000 people regularly share information on threats and discuss the latest security news.

Source: nakedsecurity.sophos.com

  1. Carlos Reply

    Lloyd,I do not have a Face book account nor do I plan to have one. I’ve had a good iefrnd married with three kids who hooked up with a high school acquaintance and left his wife. Do I know about a lot of positives from those who use? Not really. If I was in high school and college I’m sure I would be using the medium and connecting and communicating via the Face book medium. I’m 39, a generation removed for you and like to socialize with family, iefrnds, business colleges including PMPA people. This is done mostly on the phone or in person or via one on one e-mail exchanges. To me that’s socialization. By the way, Albert and I really enjoyed coming to the dinner for TMW at IMTS because we were in the same room and felt the warmth and companionship. Seeing the video provides information, but the level of connection to the event in my opinion is 1/50th. The internet for me is about moving and trading information not the primary means for socializing. The internet is an amazing tool for communication but socialization requires proximity. For the generation before me they seem to have taken it to the next level.Commercially Face Book is getting a tremendous amount of eye balls and that’s the value. Keeping the eyeballs is the challenge. I know that internet media does definitely sway my purchasing decisions big time as every major and often even minor purchase such as a $9.99 I tunes purchases it researched an done via internet. I bought a car this year. All my research was done by the internet based on other peoples feedback and comments. I decided to purchase a Buick Enclave. I joined the Buick Enclave forum to learn about the car to figure out which options people liked and why. I did not look at this as social event although in effect I was “socializing” with Buick owner from my kitchen table. I am amazed at how powerful the internet is to bring people together to share information on their experiences with a product or service. I also find LinkedIn of value so I think the interface each generation is using is different but similar. In high school and college the topics of interest are much more mundane to the mature but of interest to that category.Best Regards,David

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