There’s a sucker born every minute: A Weekly World News story — almost identical to one that ran last year — claims Facebook will shut down on March 15, and people have been sharing a link to the article as if it were true.
Unlike last year’s nearly identical story in the Weekly World News, this time around, there’s a link to a petition urging Chief Executive Officer Mark Officer not to shut down Facebook.
Some 63,499 signatures appear there as of this writing, and the first one bears the name of the infamous hacker Kevin Mitnick, most likely faked as part of the joke — although it could be a message.
Last year’s Weekly World News article about an end to Facebook inspired a malware campaign tied to the suggestion that people repost status updates to keep their accounts from getting shut down. It’s entirely possible that the petition could go that route.
Here’s what the petition says:
We, the undersigned, believe that the social networking site you created has become an integral part of our daily lives. It is our primary source for communicating and sharing information with friends, family and colleagues around the world.
We also use it to market our products and services, so its demise would cause great economic hardship.
We feel that if you shut down Facebook on March 15th, it will irreparably impact our lives. We can’t imagine life without Facebook!
We know it is a stressful time for you, providing a service for over 500 million users in over 70 languages, but you have built something beautiful something bigger than all of us.
We believe that Facebook is the embodiment of freedom of expression and democratic principles; it is a giant leap for mankind.
We join together in this petition to let you know that we are grateful for all you have done and to demonstrate the support that exists for Facebook.
We urge you in the strongest way possible to reconsider your decision to shut down Facebook.
We are certain that you can find a way to continue the service – you must, and we will be there to support you.
We remain steadfastly committed to Facebook – and implore you to continue serving the millions, soon to be billions, of users worldwide.
Have you seen anyone circulate a link to the Weekly World News story?