Facebook will NOT end on March 15th. Hoax news story spreads like wildfire

Filed Under: Facebook, Social networks, Spam, Video

Facebook and Mark ZuckerbergHeard a story that Facebook is going to end on March 15th? You should take it with a pinch of salt.

A story is spreading like wildfire across Facebook this weekend, claiming that the world's most popular social network is closing on March 15th.

The reason? CEO Mark Zuckerberg claims that "managing [Facebook] has ruined my life. I need to put an end to all the madness."

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There's only one problem with the story. It's not true. Facebook is not going to end on March 15th, and Mark Zuckerberg never said any such thing.

But that's not stopping many many Facebook users spreading the message.

Facebook will end on March 15th!

Many of the messages include a link to an apparent news story, where users can read more about the surprising announcement of Facebook's death:

Facebook will end on March 15th! Link to Weekly World News

If you click on the link, here's where you are taken. A news story by a publication that also tells us that Mike Tyson is a pigeon fancier, Michelle Obama is pregnant and alien spaceships are to attack earth in 2011:

Facebook will end on March 15th! Weekly World News story

However, the story published by the Weekly World News is, like most of their stories, full of fabricated quotes and hyperbole. For instance, the Weekly World News story contains a made-up quote from a Facebook representative, telling users that they may lose all their photographs:

"After March 15th the whole website shuts down," said Avrat Humarthi, Vice President of Technical Affairs at Facebook. "So if you ever want to see your pictures again, I recommend you take them off the internet. You won’t be able to get them back once Facebook goes out of business."

I certainly wouldn't disagree that users would be wise to have their own backup of their photographs, rather than rely on Facebook - but it's nothing more than a scare to suggest to people that they have to do it before March 15th because Facebook is going to close down.

Most people would probably never believe such a load of old nonsense as the claim that Mark Zuckerberg is going to shut down Facebook, but it only takes a small proportion of people to think it might be possible to turn a joke of a news story into an internet hoax.

And although a hoax is nothing like as bad as a piece of malware worming its way between users and stealing information, it's still a nuisance, clogging up communications, increasing the overall level of spam and perhaps leading people to make decisions for the wrong reasons.

There's an important lesson here - don't believe everything you read on the internet, and think twice before you pass a story on to your friends.

Keep your wits about you and stay informed about the latest scams, hoaxes and malware attacks spreading fast across Facebook. One of the best ways to do that is to join the Sophos Facebook page, where more than 90,000 people regularly share information on threats and discuss the latest security news.

You could also do a lot worse than check out our best practices for better privacy and security on Facebook guide.

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107 Responses to Facebook will NOT end on March 15th. Hoax news story spreads like wildfire

  1. gfenesx · 1362 days ago

    People aren't that stupid, so please do not spread idiotic,mysterious hoax ...even they cant handle Facebook, they are hundreds of corporations ready to buy Facebook with billions of dollars so there is no possible chances to shut down Facebook.....
    So people do something creative like Facebook does ....

    • guest · 1361 days ago

      Turner bought MYSPACE, and it was the dumbest thing he said he ever did. No one wants a website full of spammers and fake accounts, which is now what the majority of fb consists of.

      People were also stupid enough to believe those groups that claimed fb was going to charge 9.99 a month. Frankly, they should have. It'd make it a better place like it was in 2004-2005. Yeah, I am an old school user, early adopter of fb.

      • guest2 · 1361 days ago

        can you back up your claim that majority of fb consists of fake accounts? can you post a link that will direct us to a reputable site with solid facts that support such statements? goldman sachs valuation of fb is about 50billion dollars, if these people are willing to pay such a high price for fb, then fb is really worth 50 billion $ making your assumptions about fb stupid.

        • guest3 · 1361 days ago

          TRust me.
          I have a whole lot friend who claim to be some celebrity but none of them are true

        • hitme · 1360 days ago

          Hey how about bucking the obvious trend around here and
          trying to learn to WRITE PROPERLY? Wow, so many of you accusing
          others of idiocy and I have yet to see anyone with the ability to
          WRITE. Typical FaceDick morons... Anyone with a brain can tell this
          is a hoax and yet here you all are, discussing it like news. Shoot
          all facedick users!

          • Riiiight, and your post is much better. Maybe you should pay more attention to what you post rather than slamming others for theirs. You can, for starters, realize that no one here is writing but TYPING. Imbecile. Why are you on here if you're not interested in what is said or a facebook user anyway? Talk about moronic.

      • omari · 1036 days ago

        LOL, are you an idiot? Faceook is used by the majority of western culture. Get your facts straight kid.

    • Azedenkae · 947 days ago

      According to that website that is linked to, people really ARE that stupid lol. Some of the comments about facebook shutting down is... disappointing.

      To think that people can be so dumb.

    • kasua · 867 days ago

      they are that stupid, look at youtube comments for an example.

  2. ghada · 1362 days ago

    Impossible!!!!!

    :|

    • douglasac · 1362 days ago

      Impossible that it's a hoax, or impossible that it's closing down?

  3. Tjousk · 1362 days ago

    Even if it were true, there would be something else to take it's place in a very short time.

    • guest · 1361 days ago

      Yeah, what everyone was using before; MYSPACE.

      Luckily I have some COLLEGE ONLY sites to fall back on, where spammers do not exist. And one of them existed BEFORE fb, and is restricted to the top 30 colleges Even more exclusive than what fb stayed.

    • ankhoneirosinfinitus · 1043 days ago

      There already are many other social networking sites. Nobody would miss facebook if it disappeared.

  4. ruby bernarte · 1362 days ago

    Facebook has done so many good things to its patrons like seeing old friends from way back when,gaining friends from all over the world and doing bussiness through it...people has learned to face their day with a glimpse of faceboook. Its like it has been a part of our everyday activities...

    • guest · 1361 days ago

      facebook hasn't done jack for its users. In fact it's screwed its main and founding user base, consistently, by degrading and disabling search and college network features and education apps.

      You want to find friends? Use myspace or classmates and pay for it. In fact it's business that has ruined fb with them jumping in to the fake account racket and spamming college fan page walls. New York Life is one example.

  5. himeh · 1362 days ago

    how about a video clip from the interview.. there is a clip right?

  6. Nico · 1362 days ago

    why did he do that? is there not enough space for their database? maybe they can fix it until march 15.. so... the facebook must go on in serving people.. it's a big help to all of us..

    • Swifty · 1362 days ago

      ...What are you talking about? You actually still believe it's shutting down? People like you, sir, are why hoaxes like this actually work.

    • Johan · 1149 days ago

      Trolling.

  7. PengGuoZai · 1362 days ago

    i hope this is the true news about Facebook,because now the Facebook are over 1M of ppl using i think it wont close up so easy

  8. Junior · 1362 days ago

    Only problem with this story pointing to it's "facts" that
    discredit the Facebook story is that mike Tyson is a pigeon
    fancier. He has a new show coming out about pigeon racing that I
    saw on the Soup yesterday

    • Well, I never!

      Hey ho.. well, perhaps the Weekly World News headline that Tyson has a pigeon *fetish* is taking things a little further than the truth... I certainly wouldn't like to suggest to Mike Tyson that he has more than a completely honourable affection for our feathered friends.

  9. Pasha · 1362 days ago

    Another Boogie ! .. Oh my god .. just dont be stupid .. who the hell would do such a thing when Facebook is the 2nd greatest website on the earth ?

    • Thu Win · 1362 days ago

      Well what is the first? Google? I think Wikipedia is the second most important. Facebook would be about 10th most for me.

    • guest · 1361 days ago

      The only thing it's 2nd greatest in is spam. It's #1 in fake accounts.

      • jepoy · 1361 days ago

        come on man... you guys always think of the negative stuff?
        can't you just be straight and admit that FB has done so
        many cool stuff? instead of IM you can go FB and open the group and
        decide where to go to for a night out, you can share nice places
        via photo upload so others would know where they wanna plan their
        next vacation, although there are minor stuffs but overall its
        cool. and its impossible for FB to shutdown...

    • 2nd only to my own :)

  10. prince · 1362 days ago

    people re full of rumors

  11. redwan · 1362 days ago

    nah! there is no way facebook will shut down on march 15. It's still growing like hell. It's on profit and new investors are investing in it. I guess Mark is not fool enough to shut down a profitable business. :)

  12. BeeZy410 · 1362 days ago

    Dats Crazy..even if it's isn't true.

  13. setsuna · 1362 days ago

    I hate Facebook..Because it makes people detached from real life

    • It is not only facebook that had hooked people. Other social networkings does that, too. Whole wide internet cause people detached from real life, too

    • Actually, people detach themselves from real life. Facebook is merely the mode they choose to do so. Do you also hate books, television, music, movies, magazines, video games, etc.? If you don't that would be a direct contradiction to your statement and you could be known as a hypocrite.

  14. YSFreedom · 1362 days ago

    So how would b the weekly world news website? Going to sue them?

  15. Food Guy · 1361 days ago

    Why is anyone surprised that people are SOOOO STUPID???!!! They elected Bush twice and put the Republicans in power.

  16. Capoeire meste · 1361 days ago

    I'm from Bosnia and Bosnians are called the dumbest people in the world, but just a few Bosnians think that Facebook will be shut down :) I facebook, therefore I am :) bye!

  17. Enclosed Lightning · 1361 days ago

    FAKE!

  18. Dee · 1361 days ago

    Whoever believes this story is mentally retarded.

  19. Evie Garone · 1361 days ago

    People are so gullible! They deserve what they get...it wouldn't kill them if Facebook went out of business, though maybe they would actually make real friendships and real attachments...talking with real LIVE people wouldn't be so bad would it?

    • Del · 1313 days ago

      yeah but people want to see other peoples pictures, and its hard to talk to friends across the world

  20. profoundlyjill · 1361 days ago

    Thank you for the clarification!

    - ProfoundlyJill

  21. yukishiro · 1361 days ago

    .. thanks for the clarification ~ what a relief !

  22. linda neo · 1361 days ago

    thks ^^ i hope share this give all the friends ^^

  23. abdul · 1361 days ago

    i hope that will not be real because most people addicted on the facebook and if i want to talk about myself actually i spend about 2-3 hours everyday so it will be so hard to leave it and i'm studying out of my country you know my friends and my family are being eager to see my new pictures that's all.

  24. denith · 1361 days ago

    I see people always find the way to create a hoax in order to cause panic. Opportunistic actually...

  25. MichaelJohn · 1361 days ago

    O....
    Well the anti-facebook parents aint gonna be happy either =l

  26. Jared · 1361 days ago

    Are there really people dumb enough to believe a story like
    that?

    • ZZMM · 1358 days ago

      its not that we are dumb..its that we are really eager for it to shut down.

      and well.....yea there's stupid people >>

  27. well, person-to-person contact ended when facebook started up...so, eventually facebook will go away.

  28. BusinessAdvantage · 1360 days ago

    LMAO! Great - it was proving far too popular anyway!

    James

  29. marsha · 1360 days ago

    thats not true!...how can i live without Facebook?...***

  30. issa · 1360 days ago

    facebook should not be phased out, it is part of humans life...that without facebook my life is incomplete!

  31. roland · 1360 days ago

    I am a big fan of Facebook and have been for awhile, I never click onto anything unless its from my friend or family member, anyhow I know there is one thing and millions maybe agree with me....We hate the new Facebook look..Too many errors and too many missing comments and too many times trying to send a photo or comment and nothing happens, some pages go blank and need to refresh..I have many friends and we all have similar probs with the new Facebook....Facebook was a great site till the new look, Facebook is slowly losing its face and only becoming a faded book..plz someone fix this problem...a great Facebook fan is losing his desire to log onto facebook anymore.

  32. ReyM · 1360 days ago

    Facebook management should take action on this issue against the weekly world News for fabricating derogative news item. Most FB user's morale are affected on this issue.

  33. TheForgotten · 1360 days ago

    I believe this story made up by him or someone else just to spice it up a lil bit, it'll not end anyway, cuz this is a big step forward for them.

    I'll take it as a rumor, and for the record!!...even if it ends, we lived fine without it, and we will.

    Regards to all
    The Forgotten !!

  34. YURI EMIRI · 1359 days ago

    FACEBOOK IS MY LIFE ... :(( IF FACEBOOK IS GOING TO BE
    SHUTDOWN IM GOING TO DIE .. :((

  35. sifat · 1359 days ago

    plz plz
    plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
    we dont want to get the closing of FACEBOOK

    • Did you read the article? It's not getting closed down.

      PS. Did you fall asleep half way through typing your comment?

    • You did read the story didn't you? Especially the bit where we said that Facebook wasn't closing down?

      PS. Did you fall asleep half-way through writing that comment?

  36. Work, damn you! · 1358 days ago

    What's the point of allowing "Comment as Guest" if it's not going to work?

    I've been trying to post a comment here for the last three days. When I click "Submit Comment", the comment appears in the list. When I come back to the page, the comment has disappeared.

    WTF?

    • I'm not quite sure what problem you've been experiencing - especially as plenty of other folks have been managing to post comments just fine.

      Of course, comments are moderated - so we don't allow everything to appear on the site. But we're pretty good at letting through dissenting voices - it's only when posts are spammy, offensive or just plain stark raving bonkers that we'll zap them.

      Oh, we have had to delete some messages from teenage girls saying how much they love Justin Bieber - but I guess they weren't from you.

      Actually, it looks like you've resolved your issue seeing as you've now posted twice. Well done.

  37. Work, damn you! · 1358 days ago

    Anyone who doesn't believe that people can be that stupid should read some of the comments from last February's ReadWriteWeb article:

    (Warning: links contain NSFW language) http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/02/12/google_de... http://www.malcolmcoles.co.uk/blog/facebook-login...

    1. ReadWriteWeb posted a story about Facebook's login;
    2. The article appeared at the top of Google for a search on "facebook login".
    3. Thousands of people posted comments to the article complaining that the new design wouldn't let them log in to their Facebook.

    By the end of the thread, a lot of the comments were sarcastic, poking fun at the idiots who thought Facebook had changed its name to ReadWriteWeb, but most of the early comments appeared to be completely serious.

    As Einstein said, only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. And I'm not sure about the universe.

  38. Raime · 1358 days ago

    I may be stupid, but I am stupid enough t believe this INTERNET HOAX, I never want to believe this.

  39. James · 1357 days ago

    It should be. Then a lot of people can actually get a full night of sleep.
    No more cyberbullying and no stressing about what you posted or forgot to add to the post. No more fake friends, No more mental wars between countries, no more having
    to explain what you meant to say. Enough people lost their intelligence on FB, and no
    one seems to care. I don't have an account, FB users are future robots that will be program to sit and follow directions from FB controllers.

  40. mehrdad · 1352 days ago

    i hope the news was true. facebook is very redicolous site. and we have to remove it from our life.

  41. Tobi Longshanks · 1348 days ago

    concerning the article above,FYI Mike Tyson is a bird lover,
    here's to the death of hoaxes and the spread of truth :)

  42. Amanda Krafft · 1346 days ago

    Facebook is scammer!

  43. rich · 1345 days ago

    shut it down biggest waste of time ever sitting on a comp posting drivel or using phone apps to send updates to ppl who most of the time are sitting a few feet away

  44. Orifunke · 1340 days ago

    Well, this news has kind of calmed me down cos most of ma facebook friends are spreading this news around and it's not jus gud

  45. hayley · 1338 days ago

    I guess we'll be going back to Bebo then if it does shut down..
    Thats sucks.

  46. laughinggod · 1337 days ago

    Lmao! This is all a popularity poll stunt. The version i heard was that someone was planing to kill him if he doesnt shut it down... Oh! Come on! Lie! Lie! Lies!

  47. <Do Not Believe any Unofficial News Before make Confirmations>

    Regards,
    fazmeer Dj

  48. sasnashafi · 1331 days ago

    if Facebook went out of business, though maybe they would actually make real friendships and real attachments...talking with real LIVE people wouldn't be so bad would it?

  49. hamthala · 1331 days ago

    i hope that will not be real because most people addicted on the facebook and if i want to talk about myself actually i spend about 2-3 hours everyday so it will be so hard to leave it and i'm living out of my country you know my friends and my family are being eager to see my new pictures that's all. sometime this reduce my stress.

  50. Matthew Jones · 1324 days ago

    Facebook will not end this is a myth besides look at the worlds weekly news logo is that suppose to be a bat or something they sell this to panic the public i seen this type of newspaper about 10 years ago they said that they found a bat boy as real as the photo looked this is impossible because the genetics do not match making it not true so do not worry none of this is true about fb shutting down

  51. priyanka · 1322 days ago

    stop spreading rumours

  52. Pam · 1319 days ago

    Well, I commented on this story yesterday, but I see it's not there. I tried to share this story on my Facebook page and received a message from Facebook saying they could not repost because it had been marked as spam. Maybe the scammers have found their way around you.

    • Thanks Pam. We're aware that some people are experiencing this problem - and hoping that Facebook will fix it.

      Clearly it's in Facebook users' best interests that users should be able to share our links. Maybe sharing the link itself rather than via the button will do the job for you?

  53. guest99 · 1308 days ago

    What ever happened to going out and meeting people the good old fashioned way....in person...Facebook ruins relationships, it does nothing for kids..they should be outside playing using their imagination instead of sitting infront of a computer screen...there is no privacy anymore....and the security of facebook is slowly going down...how said is it that I have no control over who is allowed to post pictures of my two year old...cause facebook allows anyone to post them....I think they should shut it down....we got by without it before it was invented and I am sure we will get by without it once again....

  54. Christelle · 1308 days ago

    Too many people are who love to rumor all the time, just proof me if it is true till end on March, 15th, too many people are always who like to rumors do everything without proof it. It is so dummy to story about it.

  55. Diane · 1308 days ago

    maybe we should just change the way we use it and that we should show more responsibility of what is said and being put on here for profile pics and so on ...I have notices men and woman dressing down and that is not good when there are children using this site...

  56. Boohooman · 1306 days ago

    I wish it was shutting down :'(

  57. kay · 1276 days ago

    I know it's not true...but I wish it were!!

  58. wuxiaspear · 1265 days ago

    they post another hoax they said it will end on march 15 2012..lol

  59. faiza · 1098 days ago

    is facebook goingto close on 1st octobar.....?

  60. Cindy · 1065 days ago

    OMG I can't believe this! my life is OFFICIALLY over! Why would mark do this!!!!!!! Everyone Please sign the petition to stop this! I am posting and tagging everyone on FB, starting a new "SAVE FACEBOOK" Page and printing tshirts. I will post back here with the link! So you can all like the page. I will also post the link where you can purchase the "SAVE FACEBOOK" tshirts. Getting started now I'll be right back you guys!

  61. wordlife360 · 981 days ago

    yeah.. absolutely hoax.. good thing i saw the other bunch of weird news along with it..

  62. Sylwester · 979 days ago

    It's not a hoax. It's a onion-like article.
    Thanks Graham Cluley, for showing us that there are news sites that are as seroious as the onion. I was unaware that Mike tyson had a pidgeon fetish. this I need to share with all my frieds right away. Again tnanks!

  63. sim · 978 days ago

    Even some of the users comments here are laughable.

  64. willy · 978 days ago

    "Will not end on march 15," Was anyone expecting a sorta, "Thats right, it'll actually end march FOURTEENTH."

  65. sad · 977 days ago

    How sad, it's just a rumor :(
    I was hoping it's true

  66. SoldierZero-B · 963 days ago

    I'll blame my temporary belief of this nonsense on the fact that I'm really tired today lol. Please don't assume that those of us that thought, "Oh no! It's closing." are stupid. When I read about it on weeklyworldnews, I had no idea they were as credible as The National Enquirer. All is good in the land of Facebook. After all, who gets tired of making billions of dollars a year? And if it was such a hassle, why bury it and not sell it? My doubt led me to the internet and one article convinced me??? lmao. Whatever. One of those days...

  67. seeeeeeeeexy · 962 days ago

    I'll laugh is Facebook goes! Facebook isn't the only way to contact old friends on the internet. We'd all just switch to Google+ or something new and better will be created. I know Facebook ending on March 15th is a hoax but still...

  68. Furry · 962 days ago

    I wish it WERE true. But I know it isn't.

    It is not somewhere I go or ever want to go.

  69. Anil · 956 days ago

    sir,

    i just want to say that facebook should not end because today everyone is reliable on this only....

    many people are able to make new friends as well as they used to talk or be in touch with them....

    if really you wants to have an end, then its better to give the company in someone else hand....

    thanks...

  70. Nolan · 937 days ago

    well they got one of the stories right, Mike Tyson Does like Pigeons. he had a reality TV show about raising pigeons. i don't know about fetish, but he does like pigeons and cares for thousands of them.

    Mike Tyson talking about Pigeons: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEoiyGJgHls

    Mike Tysons Show "Taking on Tyson" and his Pigeon Racing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqq8IpGi76Q

  71. sanju · 932 days ago

    i dnt blive it!!!

  72. Lilian · 810 days ago

    I hope it does shut down .

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.