The latest Facebook shut down rumor is a hoax. People have been spreading a sign on the social media site saying that it will be closed for a three day period, between Feb. 29 and Feb. 31, 2014. The sign tells people to let their friends know that there will be site-wide maintenance on those days.
Those who have been vigilant saw the hoax straight away. February only has 28 days, unless it is a leap year. 2014 is not a leap year, so there is no February 29. There is never a February 30 or 31.
This is a similar message that was spread last year. The message went viral and had people panicking about what they would do during the three day blackout; how would they contact their friends and share their updates? Too many people focused on the “shut down” sentence that they failed to check the dates that this, supposed, shut down would take place. The messages also spread in 2011.
It’s a sign of how popular Facebook has become and how reliant people are on it. Maybe it’s a sign of how dangerous technology is becoming. People rely so much on social networking that they have forgotten that they can talk to people and socialize physically.
The site celebrated its 10th birthday on Feb. 4 and this is not the first hoax seen. In fact, the Facebook shut down rumor hoaxes are not the only type to spread, but these ones have been the easiest to spot.
Verification hoaxes have spread over recent years, with news of various internet bills being sent through government. One of those rumors stated that users would need to verify their accounts by March 15, 2014, to comply with PIPA and SOPA Acts. Another rumor stated that the social media site would start charging users as a way to make money. This has been going on for some time now, and the only way to stop that was by sharing and liking an e-card that was going around.
Some of the hoaxes have nothing to do with the website, but just take part on it. Various “liking and sharing” posts have been spreading, informing people that they can win something from the company. Some of these include trips from Virgin Atlantic and vouchers from grocery stores. It turns out that many of the pages sharing them are not the official ones from the company. It is a scam to get more people to click on a phishing link and share details with hackers and scammers.
Scams and hoaxes have also been sent through to email addresses about their Facebook accounts. Most of these include a link that users must click to re-confirm accounts. It involves sharing passwords and email addresses, which allows the scammers to take over a person’s social media account. Many people will use the same password for different accounts, which means the scammers also have access to other places of interest.
It is important to be vigilant when dealing with rumors and messages, even if they seem to come from the official team. There are many Facebook rumors, and many are not as innocent as the latest shut down hoax.
Editorial by Alexandria Ingham