Cabaero: Dissecting message of Mark Zuckerberg

Nini B. Cabaero

IT got me from hello.

Fresh from appearing before United States legislators, “Mark Zuckerberg” sent a message saying we should share this particular post, otherwise Facebook messages will cost us money.

The message, via Facebook messenger, was shared several times among friends. It has a link that some people clicked, a dangerous thing following warnings of data theft and malicious things online. Yet, it got shared because the message sounded urgent.

But it was easy to detect it was a fake. “Hi, I’m Mark Zuckerberg The Director of facebook,” the message said. This immediately set off warning bells for me because of the wrong or no punctuation mark, “facebook” should be with a capital F, and Zuckerberg is not “Director” of the company. He is co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer.

The message said it will soon cost money to post a Facebook message unless “you send this string to 18 different from your list…” The sender probably meant conversation thread, not “string,” and 18 contacts or friends instead of “18 different.” By the way, the number 18 changes in the next sentences to -- send to all your contacts, then, toward the end, it said send to more than nine.

It continued: “If you do not believe me tomorrow at 6 pm that facebook will be closed and to open it you will have to pay, this is all by law.” The writer surely is not a native English speaker. It is not a company communication, and it is unclear what “law” it referred to in making payment a requirement for a social media post.

“If you have at least 10 contacts Send this sms and the logo will turn red to indicate that you are a user Confirmed... We finish it for free Tomorrow they start to collect the messages for facebook at 0.37 cents Forward this message to more than 9 people of your contacts and it will be free of life for you to watch and it will turn green the ball of above do it and you will see.to 9 of you”

Try to make sense of that.

It is easy to detect false information or a statement or article that is unlikely to be official. Check the grammar if it supposed to be from an institution or a person expected to know the language. Investigate the message for any contradiction or unsupported information like the number of required contacts to be sent the message or the law that is the basis for charging a fee.

The message circulated over the weekend, just days after Zuckerberg’s testimony before US legislators over a data breach by an analytics firm. It also happened after Facebook entered into a partnership with Rappler and Vera Files, Philippine news organizations, for a third-party fact-checking program to prevent the spread of false news on Facebook.

With the funny message about charging, Zuckerberg became his own victim of false information from people who tried to fool others and steal their money or just out to have fun.

While Facebook has made promises to stop fake information, there is a call for its users to do their part. Be discerning of what you read, don’t fall for the absurd, and stop passing false information to your friends.