January 10, 2011

Facebook Not Closing Its Doors Anytime Soon

The Weekly World News posted a "quote" from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who supposedly told them "Facebook has gotten out of control. And the stress of managing this company has ruined my life. I need to put an end to all the madness."

With that, the online world has fanned the flames of what is just another passing meme.

The story has it that on March 15 of this year Mark Zuckerberg will be pulling the plug on Facebook.

Weekly World News (WWN) is known for its eyeball-grabbing headlines that are dubious at best. Headlines such as "Alien Spaceships to Attack Earth in 2011", "Megan Fox is a man" and "George Clooney to Run for President". All of which are taken with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

But regardless of how WWN grabs your attention, it does not take a genius to work out how much of a load of hokey this is. Facebook has just been given a $50 billion valuation, which of course some might also put down as a fictional claim.

The article continued: "I personally don't think it's a big deal," the article quoted Zuckerberg as saying. "And to be honest, I think it's for the better. Without Facebook, people will have to go outside and make real friends. That's always a good thing."

"Most people would probably never believe such a load of old nonsense as the claim that Mark Zuckerberg is going to shut down Facebook, but it only takes a small proportion of people to think it might be possible to turn a joke of a news story into an internet hoax," Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant at Sophos, told BBC's Maggie Shiels.

"And although a hoax is nothing like as bad as a piece of malware worming its away between users and stealing information, it's still a nuisance, clogging up communications, increasing the overall level of spam and perhaps leading people to make decisions for the wrong reasons.

"There's an important lesson here - don't believe everything you read on the internet, and think twice before you pass a story on to your friends."

But just in case you are still not convinced, Facebook itself has been forced to address the rumors because of the attention they have been given.

In a statement the world's social networking company said it is business as usual: "We didn't get the memo about shutting down, so we'll keep working away like always. We aren't going anywhere; we're just getting started."


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