A new Facebook hoax that’s circulating around the network suggests that users need to upgrade to a “Gold” level membership status in order to avoid having their private info leaked for all to see.
Hoax-Slayer first spotted the hoax. Here’s the message that some users are seeing:
It’s official. Communication media. FACEBOOK has just published its price. fee of $? ($ 9.99), to become a member of “gold” and keep your privacy as it is. If you paste this on your wall will be completely free. Otherwise, tomorrow all your documents can become public. Even those messages that you have deleted or photos that you have not authorized …… not cost you anything, copy and paste
Of course, there’s the part at the end about simply sharing the status in order to make all the problems go away. That’s the number one mechanism that scammers use to spread viral hoaxes on any social network – because how hard is it to just copy and paste it, you know, just in case?
In reality, this hoax isn’t exactly new. It’s a mashup of a couple different hoaxes that have been floating around for years. First, there’s the Facebook “Gold” scam. Hoaxes suggesting that Facebook will soon make people pay to use the service have been going around for years, and the particular one involving a $9.99 Gold membership was spotted as early as 2010.
This has the added bonus of a privacy scare, suggesting that users must pay or share a status in order to avoid public humiliation. Privacy on Facebook is a scary subject for many users, so this simply plays into some people’s base fears.
Another Facebook hoax currently making the rounds implies that users could be lock up in “Facebook Jail” if they send too many friend requests that get rejected. There is a tiny bit of truth to this hoax, in that Facebook will temporarily suspend your friend-requesting abilities if you send out too many unfulfilled requests. But the hoax suggests that this could lead to a sudden and irreversible termination of your whole account, which is simply untrue.
As always, if it sounds ridiculous, it is ridiculous. Facebook is never going to make you pay to use the service and they are never going to make all of your private information public – at least not on their terms.