We’ve all seen these. The viral Facebook posts about privacy. And (hopefully) we all know that they are hoaxes. (Well, not all of us, because a friend sent me this one this morning.)
A simple search of “Channel 13 Facebook privacy” leads to a Snopes and HoaxSlayer post about this exact text. Which got me wondering…what is it about this that makes people share it? I have a few theories.
Are people so anxious and desperate to either 1) be first or 2) follow the crowd that they are unable to step back, take a minute and really think about this?
But looking at the text itself gives us a few clues. Check out the first phrase: “DEADLINE TOMORROW!!!” Check out that sense of urgency! We must act NOW NOW NOW. No time for analysis. Must share. THE DEADLINE IS TOMORROW!
Chip and Dan Heath, in their book “Made to Stick“, suggest that viral stories tend to have some sort of credibility. Someone who KNOWS this is true, etc. In this case, the faker has written that “Channel 13 News talked about the changes”. Where the hell is Channel 13 news? Doesn’t matter. We see “Channel 13 News” and our brains register credibility.
Also – check out how the “law” is written as some sort of proof. UCC 1-308- 1 1 308-103 and the Rome Statute It looks so official! I have no idea what those numbers mean, or what the Rome Statute is, but they look so dang official! This must be legit.
A simple Google search of those numbers reveals dozens more sites exposing this hoax.
So the end we are encouaged “DO NOT SHARE” – we must “CUT AND PASTE” the message. I wonder if these instructions somehow alert our brain to the legitimacy of the post? That if the post ended with “Do whatever you want with this information, it doesn’t matter”….it wouldn’t carry as much weight with us?
These are the things I wonder about when I should be cleaning or doing laundry. This is much more fun.