Facebook Inc CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been lauded for his generosity in recent weeks. The billionaire said at the start of December that he would donate the majority of his fortune to a company with philanthropic goals. Some Facebook users got the wrong end of the stick, and they appear to believe that means they’re getting some cash too.
A message being posted all over the social network claims that Mr. Zuckerberg is going to give a large chunk of his fortune to normal users. The message claims that copying and pasting itself will result in the user being entered into a draw. 1,000 people will, according to the text, win $4.5M
Facebook promise gets busted
Snopes, an outlet that tests the truth of stories and urban legends, saw the need to address the piece of text. Apparently, to the surprise of very few, Mark Zuckerberg isn’t actually hosting a lottery to give $4.5B to random Facebook users.
Snopes said that the message was just one of those “japes that trick gullible users into forwarding, liking, or sharing messages with the promise of large financial rewards in return.”
The $4.5 million offer is a clear hoax, developed for nothing other than to create a very minor nuisance for thousands of Facebook Inc users. These kinds of viral tricks have been common since the early days of the internet, and found their way onto new platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp just as easily as they infiltrated email and UseNet.
Another Facebook scam?
Mr. Zuckerberg, who is supposed to be on paternal leave for the first months of his daughter’s life, came out in public over the weekend in order to defend its free web service “Free Basics” from critics. In India a state body pulled the plug on the Facebook Inc service last week
“Free Basics” has faced a large amount of criticism because it seems to be a vehicle for Facebook to improve its revenue in developing countries, but it is being sold as a philanthropic exercise. Mr. Zuckerberg, who wrote an op-ed about the service published by the Times of India on Monday, doesn’t agree with that characterization.
He wrote that “Free Basics should stay to help achieve digital equality for India.” He said that those who claimed it was against the idea of Net Neutrality were lying, and he said that “India must choose facts over fiction” in the fight to offer his social network, and a collection of other services, to people in the country.
The argument over free basics is likely to rage on in India, but both sides have been claiming that the other is using lies to sell its ideas. There’s a big difference between those lies and simple Facebook re-posting, but the impact of Facebook’s work, good or bad, is going to be much more impactful than any scam that appears on the social network.