Hopefully, by now, all of us Facebook users have been clued in to the fact that we can’t assert a copyright to all the junk - er, thoughtful content - that we share there via a wall post. This was a hoax that first went around (and was debunked) in May but, for some reason, came back again (with a vengeance) in the last week. It’s subsequently been debunked again (with a vengeance).
This latest incident just serves to remind me what a powerful tool Facebook is, for sharing not just updates and family photos with friends, but also lies, viruses, worms and (for all I know) STDs. While these types of things happen on other social networks as well, there’s something about Facebook (probably just the sheer number of people on it) that seem to make a particularly frequent target. It may also just be me, but since my Facebook network is more personal, made up of more people I’ve actually known in real life, than on other social networks, there’s something kind of interesting to see who falls for these things.
Why? Because, frankly, it can be funny. Now, I’m not talking about people falling for the kinds of hoaxes or scams that can do any real damage or hurt, of which there certainly are some. No, I’m talking about hoaxes like the one going around this week, that really are harmless but which, when someone falls for it, can make me chuckle (unless I’m the one falling for it). Mostly, these involve silly rumors or doctored photographs that people believe and share, which feels like the digital equivalent of someone falling for the old black-eye-binoculars bit.