Is Mark Zuckerberg really giving away millions of dollars to Facebook users who copy and paste a simple message?
To anyone who logged on to Facebook in the last few days, that appeared to be the case, with countless users forwarding a message claiming that the social media giant’s founder was giving away several million dollars to people who responded to the message in time.
The only problem was that it was a hoax, the Mirror noted, made up in the wake of Zuckerberg’s real philanthropy to give away most of his Facebook fortune.
This week, Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, announced that they would be donating 99 percent of their Facebook shares to further human advancement. The donation to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative will be made over the course of their lives and will likely have a giant impact on philanthropy.
— dna (@dna) December 8, 2015
— Mashable (@mashable) December 10, 2015
In a message titled “A Letter to Our Daughter,” Zuckerberg wrote that he and his wife wanted the roughly $45 billion to go toward “personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities.”
“We will give 99% of our Facebook shares — currently about $45 billion — during our lives to advance this mission. We know this is a small contribution compared to all the resources and talents of those already working on these issues. But we want to do what we can, working alongside many others.”
But somewhere along the line, the real news about Mark Zuckerberg giving away most of his fortune to charity morphed into a hoax claiming that everyday Facebook users could grab a portion of it if they acted quickly. The viral Facebook hoax claimed that users simply had to forward the message along in order to grab their share of the fortune, which amounted to $4.5 million per person.
“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!” the post states. “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.”
Many people shared it, though many left messages saying they didn’t quite believe it but would take a chance anyway.
This is the latest in a string of hoaxes to circulate on the world’s largest social media website. Just a few months ago, many users began sharing a very long message in legalese that prohibited Facebook from using personal pictures, videos, and messages.
But this too was a fake, the hoax-busting site Snopes noted. Facebook does not claim copyright to personal information, though rumors of the sort have been floating around for at least three years.
“We have noticed some statements that suggest otherwise and we wanted to take a moment to remind you of the facts — when you post things like photos to Facebook, we do not own them,” Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said in a statement. “Under our terms you grant Facebook permission to use, distribute, and share the things you post, subject to the terms and applicable privacy settings.”
There have been countless other hoaxes to circulate on Facebook, from divorce rumors for Barack Obama to the now never-ending celebrity death hoaxes of Macaulay Culkin, Morgan Freeman, Will Smith, and countless others.
For those still holding out hope that the latest Facebook hoax could turn out to be true, a company spokesperson confirmed that Mark Zuckerberg is definitely not giving away $4.5 million to users who share the message.
[Picture by David Ramos/Getty Images]