There are always rumors and hoaxes spreading on Facebook.
The latest myth comes in the form of a chain letter. It claims that CEO Mark Zuckerberg will distribute $4.5 billion worth of his Facebook shares among 1,000 people who copy and post the letter. Of course, this is completely bogus -- and Facebook has stated as much -- but that hasn't stopped the hoax from spreading.
As reported by Tech Insider, it began circulating in early December, right after Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla announced that they would give away 99 percent of their Facebook shares to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a philanthropic LLC that will funnel its earnings into nonprofits "to advance human potential and promote equality."
Hours after their announcement, the hoax started gaining popularity.
Here's a version of the status that people are sharing:
Mark Zuckerberg has announced that he is giving away $45 billion 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 posts 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 and philanthropy.
Facebook immediately debunked this in an official statement, reminding users that "not everything you read on the Internet is real."
Nonetheless, the message resurfaced this week.
Certainly, Facebook and other social networks provide fertile ground for hoaxes and scams to quickly gain momentum. Every so often, rumors circulate claiming that Facebook is going to start charging users or that people can now tell when you've looked at their profile. Of course, these rumors are all false.
The lesson here is simple. Don't believe everything your friends share on social media. And, when in doubt, check Facebook's official page or the site's Terms of Service -- they'll protect you from being duped.
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