Anatomy of a Chain Hoax: 'Facebook Charging $9.99 Tomorrow!'

What? Facebook charges? Yes, apparently, Facebook will be charging for access from tomorrow. Are they serious? Yes, it must be true: I read it on my Facebook feed. Please. Let's dissect this unbelievable craziness, in The Long View...

Hey, look what I found in my Facebook feed. Here we go again...

FACEBOOK JUST RELEASED THEIR PRICE GRID FOR MEMBERSHIP. $9.99 PER MONTH FOR GOLD MEMBER SERVICES, $6.99 PER MONTH FOR SILVER MEMBER SERVICES, $3.99 PER MONTH FOR BRONZE MEMBER SERVICES

Yes, it's time (once again) for the "Facebook will start charging" hoax. Oh brother.

And this time, there's bribery involved. Even if you might suspect the message is a hoax, there's a good "just in case" reason to give it the benefit of the doubt:

FREE IF YOU COPY AND PASTE THIS MESSAGE BEFORE MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. WHEN YOU SIGN ON TOMORROW MORNING YOU WILL BE PROMPTED FOR PAYMENT INFO...


Still wonder if it's legit? No problem, we got your back:

IT IS OFFICIAL IT WAS EVEN ON THE NEWS. FACEBOOK WILL START CHARGING DUE TO THE NEW PROFILE CHANGES.


Oh well, if it was ON THE NEWS, that must make it real. After all, everything "on the news" is legit, right? What was that call to action again?

IF YOU COPY THIS ON YOUR WALL YOUR ICON WILL TURN BLUE AND FACEBOOK WILL BE FREE FOR YOU.

Right, yes, OK. But I still kinda wonder if I might look foolish if I fall for it. Perhaps I should just risk being charged $9.99.

PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE ON IF NOT YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE DELETED IF YOU DO

Yikes! OK, OK, copying and pasting as we speak...

Ahem. Still think people wouldn't be so daft to fall for this hoax? Check out this real-time Facebook search page. Scary.

And that déjà vu you're experiencing? Do you remember the rumor in January that Facebook was shutting down because Zuckerberg wanted his life back?


Did you fall for it? Leave a comment below...

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. As well as The Long View, he's also the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch -- for which he has won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards on behalf of IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: TLV@richij.com. You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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