Bill Gates may be a billionaire, but if he’s going to splash his cash around he’s got better things to do with it than give it to people who simply share a photo of him on Facebook.
That hasn’t, however, stopped almost 400,000 people on Facebook from sharing an image of the Microsoft founder, holding an (obviously Photoshopped) message:
As some of you may know, I'm Bill Gates. If you click that share link, I will give you $5,000. I always deliver, I mean, I brought you Windows XP, right?
Clearly, no-one is going to receive any money for sharing the image. And chances are that the picture was meant as a joke (although it would have been funnier if the message hadn said Windows Vista rather than Windows XP, or referenced Microsoft Bob, or reminded people of Bill Gates’s claim that spam would be killed off by 2006).
On this occasion, the message being spread across is harmless. It doesn’t trick users into clicking on a dangerous link, or fool them into installing a rogue application. It is, of course, adding to the general “noise” on Facebook and some might consider it unwanted spam.
But the more you share “jokes” like this, and the more used your friends and family become to you spreading such material, the more likely it is that you’re fostering an atmosphere where forwarding chain letters, hoaxes and jokes is considered the norm.
And the more you share material like the picture above, the *less* out of place a *real* scam or malicious link will appear to your friends and family when your Facebook account gets compromised.
So, call me a kill-joy if you like, but jokes like this aren’t necessarily going to end up with everyone amused.
Don’t forget you should join the Naked Security from Sophos Facebook page, where we keep you up-to-date on the latest hoaxes, scams, security and privacy issues affecting Facebook users.
26 comments on “Bill Gates offers $5000 for Facebook sharing? It’s just not that funny”
People seriously believe Mr Gates will give away 2 BILLION dollars? Oh dear…
Anyone who shared this is a Moron. That would be a large percent of the population, though.
I'm pretty sure most of the people who shared it knew it was a joke. I shared it with my friends with the caption as a joke and no one took it seriously.
And, that's they way it should be done. Let's everyone know where you're coming from… 😉
If I had a dime for how many times my friends have shared this picture… then again, if I had a dime for every dime I had…
Haha, that is the verification image posted by him during the reddit AMA : http://i.imgur.com/vlMjEgF.jpg
That message was from when he was on Reddit: http://i.imgur.com/vlMjEgF.jpg
He didn't get to be a billionaire by giving away $5000 for every Facebook share!
hey, you do know that pic was from when he was on Reddit: http://i.imgur.com/vlMjEgF.jpg
"It is, of course, adding to the general "noise" on Facebook."
Adding to the "general noise on Facebook"? I though that is what Facebook was…. a very annoying general noise that is now all over the internet. Kind of like a mosquito that insists on buzzing right in your ear and won't go away.
When my friends post pics like that… or the "Share if you love your dog."… or your Mother". It makes me wonder why we were "friends" in the first place. It always warrants a Change in what updates I get from them to 'Only Important'.
I love how people easily fall for these things.
Last week, your article on preventing your fb friends from allowing their apps to expose your personal information did a nice job of providing a step by step directions for how to change your fb settings. I shared it with my fb friends.
Would you consider documenting easy instructions on how a user should check out the validity of a message before they propogate, (Snopes, etc.) Thanks!
You obviously have much more idea of what such things look like than I do. 🙂
Hey, I’m just using the pic that has been shared on Facebook..
That began as an email hoax MANY years ago, promising Bill would give you, I don't remember how much, if you just forwarded the email. Of course there was no way then, or now, of telling how often you did any such thing. And it wasn't only Bill, there were plenty of others alleging the same silly thing. That people are still doing it only now via social media only proves there are still too many people with too much time on their hands.
Thank you for writing this. It's one of my pet peeves on Facebook. The cry wolf factor. Drives me nuts. Always research before you repost something.
Many people only shared the image because of the surreptitiously added and somewhat disturbing item in the background. If you don't immediately know what it is, you may not want to know.
Seriously? He'll give me $5000! Oh my gourd! I'm gonna go to FarceBook and share that photo with all of my friends RIGHT NOW! I need $5000! I know all three of them will believe anything they see on FarceBook. I just hope the money doesn't have little choochoos in the corners.
That happened to me last week… I’d rather have little spacemen in the bushes than choochoos in the corners.
Hey, Sophos guys, didn't you get the message of this pic?
This is obviously a satire on hoaxes!
Perhaps you do not have a sense of humour you're aware of.
We’re well aware of satirical chain letters – after all, there have been plenty in the past.
The problem is not just that many people aren’t in on the joke, but also that they’re just as much of a pain and an irritation as *normal* chain letters. It’s just not that funny.
Coming soon: Sophos NakedSecurity is going to warn us about taking part in internet memes. They're just as much of a pain and an irritation as *normal* chain letters. It's just not that funny. 😉
there has be 1,743,433 shares on it now… o.O ppl really that stoopid?
So… when should I expect my 5 grand? Will it come by mail or should I provide my account number?
Bill Gates has demonstrated its humanism, charisma, professionalism, and above all atudandole need millions of people, I hope the other billionaires share of what they have to those we lackBill Gates is making.
Facebook, and the internet in general, has opened the gates (no pun intended) to a host of fools that have proved one thing: There are far more idiots, liars and thieves among us than previously assumed.