Social Media Hoaxes
As social media networks blossom in popularity, so do hoaxes. Some are blatant; some sophisticated. But all please and often profit no one but the originators. And some do actual harm. Here is a social media hoax you may remember Jesse Ventura’s.
Hunting Social Media Hoaxes
The first place you should turn to before posting one of these “notices” is to Snopes, official de-bunker of hoaxes.
- The Facebook Copyright/Privacy Hoax
One making the rounds as we speak is the fake “copyright/privacy” notice people are being encouraged to copy onto their status and share – which millions are spreading in all earnestness even as you read this.
You’ve probably seen the darn thing.
The idea that you can protect yourself by making up your own terms on the spot (which is essentially what this notice does) simply doesn’t hold water. You are both protected by international copyright law (and specific laws valid for your country) and not protected. That is, certain rights to ownership of your own content apply by default… but when you sign up for a network such as Facebook, with specific terms and policies, you may find that you have waived that right; plus granted license you never meant to give.
Facebook put things in more soothing terms, during a recent statement on their Newsroom page.
But according to copyright lawyer, Brad Shear (via Snopes.com), “the privacy declaration [in the copy-and-share message] is worthless and does not mean anything. Snopes also quotes Facebook spokesman, Andrew Noyes as confirming this, quoting from Facebook’s own terms: “Under our terms, you grant Facebook permission to use, distribute and share the things you post, subject to the terms and applicable privacy settings.”
What does this translate to in real life?
It means that Facebook can legally:
- Display what games you’ve recently played (or are playing right now)
- Use your name to endorse its advertisers and their products
- Use apps to take public Facebook actions such as reveal your location, present and past – even when you think you’ve changed your privacy setting to prevent this.
In short, most social networks can change policies on you and alter settings at any time. (It’s in their terms and policies.) So don’t let copyright/privacy “notices” like this one lull you into a false sense of security.
All of these fake or over-exaggerated social media “chain-letter” type hoaxes could be viewed as social media Trojans. They clog up news feeds and detract from quality content. And at worse, they leave the viewer not only with false information, but earnestly helping to spread it.
So before you rush to pass on the word about any alarming message – do check it against Snopes’ data banks.
Here’s what Snopes ultimately concluded about this particular case…
2. Mobile Phone Explodes While Charging
Here’s one hitting the rounds that is both dramatic and shocking.
Concludes another reputable hoax-debunking site Hoax Slayer.com: “May be possible if equipment is faulty, but the warning highly exaggerates the risk under normal conditions.”
Further investigation reveals that the gruesome photo series were added years after the original text version of this message, whose origins can be traced as far back as early 2005, when mobiles were still called “cell phones”.
While mobile batteries have been known to explode, less than a handful of cases involving phones still charging have been recorded during the last decade: Most have occurred in India and other third-world Asian countries, where cheap and shoddy cell phone knock-offs are common. In fact, the gruesome photo now attached to the current message going the rounds was added from an unconfirmed incident in Ghana. The burned fingers featured with the bed photos do not belong, as the Ghana victim died on site.
Conclusion about this particular hoax? While it is possible in extremely rare cases, explosion danger is only likely if there are other faults. More people get killed or injured by lightning than will ever be harmed by a cell phone exploding while it is being charged. (That being said, never over-charge your mobile.)
So you certainly don’t have to be in a fever to pass on this particular warning. In fact, you would do more good to warn your friends about the dangers of buying cheap knock-offs.
Social Media Hoaxes Part 2 Coming Soon
If you liked this post, then stay tuned and look for the next post on social media hoaxes.