Yesterday afternoon, amid the pure, unbridled bliss I’ve come to know as the NFL RedZone channel, my wife said, “Wait, Facebook is going to start charging people?”
I chuckled and asked, “Is this according to someone on Facebook?”
“It’s according to a lot of people on Facebook,” she answered. She then began reading the following, which you may have seen yourself:
“FACEBOOK JUST RELEASED THEIR PRICE GRID FOR MEMBERSHIP. $9.99 PER MONTH FOR GOLD MEMBER SERVICES, $6.99 PER MONTH FOR SILVER MEMBER SERVICES, $3.99 PER MONTH FOR BRONZE MEMBER SERVICES, FREE IF YOU COPY AND PASTE THIS MESSAGE BEFORE MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. WHEN YOU SIGN ON TOMORROW MORNING YOU WILL BE PROMPTED FOR PAYMENT INFO…IT IS OFFICIAL IT WAS EVEN ON THE NEWS FACEBOOK WILL START 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. PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE ON IF NOT YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE DELETED IF YOU DO NOT PAY!!”
My wife was not yelling — the text was written in all caps. She got to the part about copying and pasting the message to get the service for free before she and I were both laughing.
But it’s not funny! Sort of.
Clearly, this is a hoax, in case you hadn’t figured it out. For starters, what benefit to Facebook is giving out $10-per-month memberships indefinitely in exchange for you pasting some all-caps message to your wall? That’s a lot of money for the company to leave on the table.
Second, no self-respecting company issues a statement in all caps.
Third, and most important, Facebook doesn’t need you to pay a monthly fee. It makes plenty of money from selling ads and (supposedly) non-identifying user data.
Fourth, the message is woefully devoid of commas and filled with run-on sentences. And it’s in all caps, if I hadn’t mentioned that already.
Fifth, “IF YOU COPY THIS ON YOUR WALL YOUR ICON WILL TURN BLUE AND FACEBOOK WILL BE FREE FOR YOU.” What icon? The logo? The favicon? Doesn’t matter. The white Facebook icon/logo/whatever lives atop a blue background. So basically Facebook’s own branding would disappear?
In the future, if you’re wondering about a suspicious-looking Facebook feature, make sure to check Facebook’s blog or press releases. PLEASE COPY THIS POST TO YOUR FACEBOOK WALL OR ELSE YOUR PANTS WILL DISINTEGRATE AT NOON TOMORROW!