Facebook rumours. No, I’m not talking about Microsoft buying Facebook or Mark Zuckerberg’s pregnant girlfriend. I’m talking about those pesky, illogical rumours that spread faster than the truth. The ones that abuse caps lock, exclamation points and common sense.
“IT IS OFFICIAL. IT WAS EVEN ON THE NEWS. FACEBOOK WILL STARTING CHARGING DUE TO THE NEW PROFILE CHANGES. IF YOU COPY THIS ON YOUR WALL YOUR ICON WILL TURN BLUE AND FACEBOOK WILL BE FREE FOR YOU.”
“I just want to be sure,” some of my Facebook friends have said. “I don’t wanna pay!” Click, share.
“FACEBOOK WILL BE SHUTTING DOWN ON MARCH 15 MARK ZUCKERBERG WANTS HIS LIFE BACK. IF YOU EVER WANT TO SEE YOUR PICTURES AGAIN TAKE THEM OFF NOW.
“Well, it could be true,” the same friends said. “You don’t own Facebook.” Click, share.
Sigh. I get why the rumours catch on—they threaten to disturb the online lifestyle we’ve become so accustomed to—but seriously. Do your homework before pushing the rumour further into circulation. There are plenty of places on the web that make it easy to discover the truth. Here’s what to do:
Would Facebook really start charging? Not a chance. Facebook runs on the principle of making the world more open and connected. Charging users would be a direct violation of that. And if that’s too idealistic for you to believe, think a little deeper. Facebook also runs on the principle of advertising. In 2010 alone, Facebook raked in $2 billion. If they start charging, users will leave and Facebook will sell fewer ads. Fewer ads equals less revenue, and why would anyone want that?
If you want to find out if the latest Facebook Lady Gaga death rumour is actually true, Google it. Type “is Lady Gaga dead” and press enter. But before you dive into the results, check the sources. If the article is posted on the Weekly World News or some random dude’s blog, please don’t read it. Look for genuine news sources, or sites like the official Facebook blog or Lady Gaga’s Twitter. She’s not dead, by the way. I Googled it. I’m glad. I love her.
This is the quickest way to squash your fears. Remember when the Facebook Apocalypse rumour made the rounds earlier this year? It proclaimed the end of Facebook to be March 15, 2011. That never happened, obviously, but a ton of people believed it would. If they had just gone to Snopes like they should have, they would have seen the big red light slapped on the story and not passed it on to zillions of friends.
If all else fails, or if you’re a Type A personality who insists on doing everything yourself, test the rumour. Here’s an example involving the new Ticker feature:
“PLEASE DO ME A FAVOR AND MOVE YOUR MOUSE OVER MY NAME, WAIT FOR THE BOX TO LOAD AND THEN MOVE YOUR MOUSE OVER THE “SUBSCRIBE” LINK. UNCHECK “COMMENTS AND LIKES.” I WOULD REALLY RATHER THAT MY COMMENTS ON FRIENDS AND FAMILIES POSTS NOT BE MADE PUBLIC, THANK YOU!”
People are so confused by Facebook’s recent changes that all logic has been tossed out the window. It’s the “they’ve changed so much that this could be true” mentality. If that’s the case, see for yourself.
Let’s say the Ticker shows that your friend Joe commented on Stephanie’s photo. Stephanie is a complete stranger that you’re not friends with. You click on the comment and see the photo of Stephanie and her sons. Creepy, right? Not really. Stephanie has an open profile that you can creep on whenever the heck you want. And if you went to Joe’s profile, you can see her photo there too, plus other friends’ posts that he’s liked or commented on throughout the years
Further testing shows that all of the Ticker activity is either from your friends, or friends of friends with lax privacy settings. It’s the same level of privacy as the old Facebook, it’s just that the Ticker lets you see everything creepy in one handy place instead of having to go to each person’s individual profile.
Make sure everything you do is “Friends only” and you’re good to go. Problem solved.
As Stikky Media’s copywriter, Stacey Santos spends her days writing, editing and obsessing over punctuation. She crafts everything from blog posts and articles to web copy and press releases, and is always looking for an excuse to research strange topics. When she’s not at her computer, you can find her playing the piano, getting lost in nature or eating peas. Questions? Comments? Contact Stacey at [email protected].