Sigh.. no, Facebook is not ending on March 15th 2012. Hoax spreads quickly

Filed Under: Facebook, Featured, Social networks

Have you seen the news? Maybe your friends have shared it with you.

Apparently, Facebook is going to shut down on March 15th, 2012. Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly found running the site just too stressful.

Here's the link that many Facebook users have been sharing with each other.

News of alleged end of Facebook, linked to from Facebook

Some worried Facebook users have even been sharing this photograph of a news report about the claimed closure of the world's most popular social network:

Facebook will end, bogus news report

However, before you start wailing and gnashing your teeth, I suggest you read the following:

Q. Is it true that Facebook will end on March 15th?
A. No.

The link being shared points to the website of the Weekly World News. Facebook users in America may be all too aware that stories published in the Weekly World News (WWN) often only have the very loosest relationship with the truth.

Megan Fox is unlikely to be a manFor instance, other popular stories on its website right now include "MEGAN FOX IS A MAN!", "ALIEN SPACESHIPS TO ATTACK EARTH IN NOVEMBER 2012", and - a favourite of mine - "CONFIRMED: WORLD WILL END OCTOBER 21, 2011".

So, maybe you shouldn't believe them when they say that Facebook is going to shut down its business.

In fact, the Weekly World News's bogus claim about the end of Facebook, seems to be its most popular story by far with over 22,000 comments from concerned users.

And it's not even a new claim! Long-standing readers of Naked Security may remember that we went through this ridiculous scare a year ago, when the Weekly World News first claimed that Facebook was going to wind down.

Here's a video I made at the time, trying to put out the flames being caused by the widely spread hoax. Sadly, it seems they're still spreading..


(Enjoy this video? You can check out more on the SophosLabs YouTube channel and subscribe if you like)

Hoaxes like this waste time, use up bandwidth, and simply underline that many people don't check their facts before sharing links and spreading news.

The only thing they do serve to do is bring a lot of traffic to the Weekly World News website, which presumably makes their advertising team happy.

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 160,000 people regularly share information on threats and discuss the latest security news.

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6 Responses to Sigh.. no, Facebook is not ending on March 15th 2012. Hoax spreads quickly

  1. Sizzle69 · 921 days ago

    Hell, I'm glad you cleared that one up. I was concerned that I wasn't going to be able to add a status update when the world ends later this year.

    • Alisande · 920 days ago

      That would be when the world ends last year. This year we get an alien spaceship attack :)

  2. Robert Gracie · 921 days ago

    Not the weekly world news site again thats a hoax site its an utter joke I have seen the stories on there they make no sense what so ever its what I call a fools site where they fool you into thinking the story is real but it clearly isnt!

  3. Bastion · 920 days ago

    Sophos, you disappoint. So it's not enough to inundate your feed with phishing scams, but hoaxes, too?!?!? You're not Snopes. And regardless of your attempt at the very end to make this "relevant" by citing the "bandwidth" hoaxes like this eat up, how about the bandwidth worthless articles like this, and the comments, and shares, etc eat up? You are contributing to the problem, NOT the solution!

    Anybody with half a brain cell knows that WWN is fake news, even when it was still being printed and sold in the check-out line. It's like someone taking an Onion story seriously. And if people are duped by fake news, is that really a "hoax", or just gullibility?

    Please, for the love of Steve Jobs, stick to security!!!!

  4. wonderlens · 890 days ago

    So Facebook doesn't end? I must admit that I am a bit disappointed.

  5. me · 890 days ago

    Are you folks going to start debunking stories in the Onion, too?

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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.