Top hoaxes on Facebook you’ve probably shared

Oh, Facebook—where friends, family and semi-strangers all congregate to poke each other, share vacation photos, argue about politics, search for high school crushes, play FarmVille and, unfortunately, fall for hoaxes.

There are those occasional viral posts that intentionally fool us, and the idyllic status updates that simply obscure the realities of life.  But, perhaps the most notable hoaxes on Facebook are the ones that deal directly with the site itself. Like just this week, when a hoax began circulating that encouraged users to copy and paste the following status update, lest all their updates suddenly become public unless they pay a fee:

“Now it’s official! It has been published in the media. Facebook has just released the entry price: $5.99 to keep the subscription of your status to be set to ‘private.’ If you paste this message on your page, it will be offered free (paste not share) if not tomorrow, all your posts can become public. Even the messages that have been deleted or the photos not allowed. After all, it does not cost anything for a simple copy and paste.”

Can you imagine if this were actually true? There would be chaos. The Internet would shut down. But we share this stuff anyway because hey, better safe than sorry, right?

Facebook reps were on hand to dispel the rumors, though, once again.

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The point is WE ARE ALL VICTIMS, and it’s important to be able to separate the real from the fake – especially in Facebook Land, where many of us spend so much time. So just for funsies, here are a few more of our other favorite/not-so-favorite Facebook hoaxes and lies (we see a pattern).

The “copyright-protection” mumbo jumbo

Similar to this week’s big hoax, back in January, a status update containing just enough legal jargon to mildly scare the average Internet user started circulating around Facebook, basically warning people to copy and paste its content into their own status updates or else their information would be stolen.

The best part about this one is that it wasn’t even original — there was a similar hoax in 2012, which Facebook also addressed (and to be honest, they’re probably sick of addressing at this point). Bottom line? Stuff like this isn’t legal, and everything you need to know related to copyright and privacy is in Facebook’s Terms of Service — no matter how many official-looking statute numbers are in that status update.

“When this post hits X likes, I will X!”

This is a cheap way to get hits and popularity while simultaneously wasting people’s time and taking up space on their news feed that could be filled with important stuff, like pictures of kittens in Halloween costumes. Rude and unnecessary — especially when the poster promises to do something nice for someone really in need and doesn’t follow through. One example of that was a hoax a few years back that promised to donate money to a sick 9-year-old girl in need in exchange for likes. Of course, it was one of many hoaxes that exploited the lives of real people and fooled hundreds. So let’s all work together to make sure we donate our time and effort to real causes instead of thinking a “Like” will magically do it for us.

The myth of the Facebook video ad

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