Over the past few days, you may have noticed your Facebook newsfeed filling up with posts from your friends assuring you that Mark Zuckerberg will give away $4.5 million to a few lucky people. “Mark Zuckerberg has announced that he is giving away $45 billon of Facebook stock. What you may not have heard is that he plans to give 10% of it away to people like YOU and ME! All you have to do is copy and paste this message into a post IMMEDIATELY. At midnight PST, Facebook will search through the day’s post and award 1000 people with $4.5 million each as a way of saying thank you for making Facebook such a powerful vehicle for connection.” Before you fling yourself at the opportunity to get millions, you should know that it’s a hoax (even though a variation of the message includes the phrase “This is not a hoax”).
Although Zuckerberg announced recently that he and wife Priscilla Chan will give away most of their fortune, the recipients will be philanthropic organizations, not click-happy strangers. “Friends don’t let friends copy and paste memes,” Facebook responded to the hoax. “While Priscilla and Mark’s pledge to give money to improve the world is real, not everything you read on the internet is, and they’re not giving it away randomly. Be safe out there, sweepstakes seekers.” Facebook is plagued by viral hoaxes and scams such as these. A good rule of thumb: if it looks too good to be true, it’s probably a scam.