The Ides of March may not have been kind to Julius Caesar, but contrary to what seems to be an annual hoax on Facebook, the social network is not shutting down March 15 due to overpopulation.
The March 15 hoax tends to appear around the beginning of every calendar year and, despite the fact that the premise is completely unrealistic, it apparently lures enough unsuspecting users every year to make it worth repeating.
Sophos’ Naked Security blog shared an example of the 2014 version of the “Facebook is closing March 15” hoax (unedited):
Dear Facebook members, Facebook is supposed to be closing down March 15th because it is becoming very overpopulated. There have been many members complaining that Facebook is becoming very slow. Records show that there are many active Facebook members and also many new members. We will be sending this message around to see if members are active or not. If you are active please send to 15 other users using copy+paste to show that you are still active. Those who do not send this message within 2 weeks will be deleted without hesitation to make more space. Send this me>ssage to all of your friends to show that you are still active and you will not be deleted. Founder of Facebook. Remember to send this to 15 other people so your account wont be deleted.
This particular hoax does not appear to have any malware or phishing associated with it, and it is likely an attempt to generate, as Naked Security put it, “loads of wasteful traffic.”
Naked Security also pointed out the obvious red flags:
- Why would Facebook close down because it has too many members?
- Why would Facebook try to reduce traffic by eliminating inactive members who create no traffic, in favor of active users, who are encouraged to spread this message around, thereby increasing traffic?
- Poor grammar, which is a hallmark of hoaxes, spam, and scams.
Readers: Have you seen similar messages about Facebook closing down March 15 in your News Feeds?
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.