Online Hoax Survival Guide

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blog-dimensionsIt’s not a Halloween scare and, no, Facebook is not planning to make all your past posts public. This bogus claim is the latest online hoax making the rounds this week. Some are funny, but many of these false statements are far from benign.

“With this statement, I give notice to Facebook it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, or take any other action against me based on this profile and/or its contents. The content of this profile is private and confidential information,” one statement reads. It is a revival of an old privacy scare that urges all users to copy and paste the warning on their Facebook page.

FALSE. This particular hoax first surfaced roughly four years ago, and it’s back in a big way. It’s one you can safely ignore. The top Facebook hoaxes of last year included this attempt, one indicating Facebook would start charging subscription fees, and another announcing the launch of a Dislike button.

Facebook hoaxes are so common that the company even hosts a page for hoaxes. Check it before you contribute to the problem.

Another great source for debunking—before you share or like the story—is snopes.com, a rumor-busting website that is usually early in detecting the latest hoax. Today’s big chatter on Snopes? The rumors are false. Nickelodeon TV did not cancel Spongebob Squarepants today.

Some hoaxes are not as harmless as a cartoon cancellation. They circulate false rumors regarding celebrity deaths and other toxic lies. One Snopes debunked this week claimed that Kanye West is wanted for questioning in France regarding the early October robbery of his wife, Kim Kardashian-West. Thieves stole a reported $11.2 Million in jewels from her Paris lodgings.

If you’d rather skip all this irritating but compelling messaging, log into Facebook and check the account tab on the upper right corner to tweak your account’s privacy settings.

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