Sigh.. no, Facebook is not ending on March 15th 2012. Hoax spreads quickly

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

Have you seen the news? Maybe your friends have shared it with you.

Apparently, Facebook is going to shut down on March 15th, 2012. Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly found running the site just too stressful.

Here’s the link that many Facebook users have been sharing with each other.

News of alleged end of Facebook, linked to from Facebook

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Some worried Facebook users have even been sharing this photograph of a news report about the claimed closure of the world’s most popular social network:

Facebook will end, bogus news report

However, before you start wailing and gnashing your teeth, I suggest you read the following:

Q. Is it true that Facebook will end on March 15th?
A. No.

The link being shared points to the website of the Weekly World News. Facebook users in America may be all too aware that stories published in the Weekly World News (WWN) often only have the very loosest relationship with the truth.

Megan Fox is unlikely to be a manFor instance, other popular stories on its website right now include “MEGAN FOX IS A MAN!”, “ALIEN SPACESHIPS TO ATTACK EARTH IN NOVEMBER 2012”, and – a favourite of mine – “CONFIRMED: WORLD WILL END OCTOBER 21, 2011”.

So, maybe you shouldn’t believe them when they say that Facebook is going to shut down its business.

In fact, the Weekly World News’s bogus claim about the end of Facebook, seems to be its most popular story by far with over 22,000 comments from concerned users.

And it’s not even a new claim! Long-standing readers of Naked Security may remember that we went through this ridiculous scare a year ago, when the Weekly World News first claimed that Facebook was going to wind down.

Here’s a video I made at the time, trying to put out the flames being caused by the widely spread hoax. Sadly, it seems they’re still spreading…

Hoaxes like this waste time, use up bandwidth, and simply underline that many people don’t check their facts before sharing links and spreading news.

The only thing they do serve to do is bring a lot of traffic to the Weekly World News website, which presumably makes their advertising team happy.

Keep your wits about you and stay informed about the latest scams, hoaxes and malware attacks spreading fast across Facebook.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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