Facebook hoax – early warning signal?

Several of the quirks of online communication are revealed by a Facebook hoax.  First, Brandon Na’s blog reveals the amount of traffic he has received as a result of people using search engines to check on the authenticity of the message.  Just by discussing the hoax, his post is popping up high in Google and hence, added oomph, which gives it search engine juice etc etc.

Back to the hoax itself, I have only received it from a couple of my Facebook Friends, it says:

Attention all Facebook membeRs.Facebook is recently becoming very overpopulated,There have been many members complaining that Facebookis becoming very slow.Record shows that the reason isthat there are too many non-active Facebook membersAnd on the other side too many new Facebook members.We will be sending this messages around to see if theMembers are active or not,If you’re active please sendto other users using Copy+Paste to show that you are activeThose who do not send this message within 2 weeks,The user will be deleted without hesitation to create more space,If Facebook is still overpopulated we kindly ask for donations but until then send this message to all your friends and make sure you sendthis message to show me that your active and not deleted.Founder of FacebookMark Zuckerberg

There ought to be a number of clues that this is not a credible message.  The poor presentation alone is a red flag.  In addition, why would Facebook rely on us proving that our account is active when they have the backroom data to see what we are doing?  One of the key aspects of Facebook is that it records our every move and hence recent concerns over the use of this information.

The second big warning is the mention of donations.  I’m not sure if the originators just get pleasure from seeing their message passed around or if there is some scam going on.  But in any case, it is interesting from a public relations perspective that Facebook does not appear to have picked up on the hoax itself.

One of the considerations of why this hoax is being passed on is that it picks up on something that people feel may just be true in terms of too many people using Facebook.  This also ought to be a warning signal to the Facebook folk – is the bubble about to burst? 

Anyway, I have informed my kind Friends that this is a hoax – so if like Brandon’s visitors, you’ve come here for verification, then you too can feel smug enough to have avoided passing it on.

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.

7 thoughts on “Facebook hoax – early warning signal?”

  1. I’m surprised this message is getting as much attention as it is. It’s the same old gag we all used to get as forwards in our email inboxes. “Hotmail (or Yahoo, Gmail, etc.) is deactivating dormant accounts and needs you to forward this blah blah blah.” Or the classic “Bill Gates is tracking this email and will pay you x amount per person that gets it.” Does anyone believe that Zuckerberg or Facebook, valued by Microsoft at around $15 billion USD, would send a message with this many grammatical errors? They didn’t even use “your” and “you’re” correctly. Who falls for this stuff?

  2. Tom – one of my Friends said she was too busy to check and just passes these things on automatically. It is worrying how unconcerned/lazy/gullible (or whatever adjective fits) many people are online.

  3. I had dozens of emails warning me about this and didn’t believe them.

    Merry Christmas wishes to you Heather, I hope you manage to put your feet up.

  4. It’s astounding how many people fell for this – I kept getting this stupid message so often that i ended up deleting arsing Funwall!

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