Lately, a lot of the the users on my Facebook newsfeed have been falling for “hoaxes”. While there have been a lot of forehead slaps as I see these over and over again, I also feel the need to reach out and try to help those victims.
There are a lot of articles about these various hoaxes – but here is a simplified summary of the three main “themes” that have been the most common, and of which you should try to avoid!
1 – Privacy Announcements.
This one has been hot again lately. It seems to come and go every few months. Any status you post about your privacy means nothing. You’ve been duped. The reason why the person chose to tell you to “copy and paste” was most likely because they didn’t want this joke to be traced back to them. When you make this status, it is equally as effective as the time Michael Scott from The Office decided to declare bankruptcy by shouting it out loud in the middle of the room.
The ONLY way to adjust your privacy is through the privacy settings – no matter what changes need to me made. It is found under “settings “on the top left corner of the page. I feel silly even addressing this…but…IF by chance (I will put money on the fact that this will never be the case), there is a change in privacy that requires you to put up a Facebook status proclaiming your rights…you will receive an email and a notification directly from Facebook. Regardless, you should always watch what you post. Even if you set the highest level of privacy settings available, your friends can take screen shots of anything you post and hold you accountable. Anything you put on the internet is never truly private. So either way – consider every post you make to be “public”.
2 – Superstitious Posts
I have more bad news: You’re not going to get rich within the next 24 hours if you share and comment on a post that says so. But the good news is: your mother is going to be ok, your prayers are still being heard, and your luck will still be just dandy if you don’t fall for yet another scheme for people trying to draw attention to their Facebook page through these gimmicks.
I’m not going to speak on behalf of God, or any of the spirits that are monitoring what you share on Facebook, but I will assume that the people creating and spreading them are very entertained by making many people extremely paranoid.
3 – Fake Business Pages.
The share and comment gimmick from above is similarly used to draw attention to fake business pages. People will create a page that has a big company’s name on it – and then announce a bogus giveaway in order to get Likes. I’ve seen this with airline tickets, Disney World passes, cruises and more. They’ll do this for fun – but they can also do this to grab your info and advertise to you.
One way of knowing you are on a false page is to simply look at the number of page Likes. If you’re on a “Disney World” page that has 4,000 Likes…it’s probably a fake page. Same with Jetblue or Southwest. Their Likes would realistically be in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions based on the size of these companies – and the marketing team behind it all.
It’s hard not to let our emotions get the best of us. We want to be protected, we want our prayers heard, and by golly we want a free trip to Disney World. But taking a little time to look into the source of what you are sharing, could save yourself from being another victim of these hoaxes.