Mythbusting: Facebook and hoaxes
It’s something that happens quite regularly on social media. Your Facebook news feed suddenly starts filling up with the same viral, boilerplate post and before you know it, you’re sucked in too.
Over the past few days and weeks there have been two such chain letters floating around on the popular social media platform: one warning users to post a kind of legal notice to their timeline to protect their copyright or privacy rights; the other claiming that Facebook is about to impose a paid premium service.
Both are hoaxes.
In fact, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was so enraged by this latest spate of pernicious chain letters that he held a feisty media conference on 29 September 2015 to appeal to users to stop being so gullible.
Behind the “Privacy Notice” hoax
This hoax has been circulated several times over, and every time it sucks people in. It advises users to post a “Privacy Notice” to their timeline as a means of preventing the public use of the material they post. The latest version goes something like this:
The thing is, your legal rights are determined not by any one status post, but rather by the social network’s Terms of Service, which you agree to when you create an account. The best way to protect your information is by adjusting your privacy settings, both on your mobile app and on desktop.
Behind the “Premium Service” hoax
This hoax claims that Facebook is about to introduce a premium service that would require a monthly subscription. The gist of it is that if you don’t sign up to the service, you’d have all your photos sold to unscrupulous third parties. And the solution? Post a status on Facebook saying you don’t agree to these terms.
Clearly this was the final straw for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who ranted at a recent press conference, “Do you people even read this crap before you copy and paste it? Or does it just punch your moron button hard enough to get a reaction?”
Again, if you’re concerned about privacy, adjust your settings.
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