I’ve been saying for quite a while that Facebook has become the natural home of the kind of hoax and semi-hoax deluges that used to make email such a trial from time to time. But most of the attention tends to be focused on the more obviously malicious stuff like survey scams, likejacking, koobface-type worms and so on.
While his arguments to the effect that there is no such thing as a harmless hoax won’t be particularly new to old-school hoaxwatchers, their application in the particular context of Facebook (though they’ll apply to other social networks too, of course) is right on the button.
Talking of a hoax that’s clearly doing harm, Facecrooks.com has teamed up with ThatsNonsense.com, Hoax-Slayer, The BULLDOG Estate and Privacy and Security Guide to try to reduce the impact of those unpleasant chain messages that try to persuade you to forward them by convincing you that if you do, the children whose photographs they use will benefit from medical treatment.
No-one is making treatment of sick children conditional on the posting of chain-messages. And the unauthorized misuse of the photos of real sick children is obviously hurtful to their parents.
David Harley CITP FBCS CISSP
Small Blue-Green World/AVIEN/Mac Virus
ESET Senior Research Fellow