The latest internet rumor to go viral is the apparently widespread belief that Facebook is ending on March 15. Not getting updated, not going public, ending.
That’s right, you heard me. Even though you had no idea that was even a rumor.
How did this thing start? Well, like all reliable pieces of information, it originated on the Weekly World News.
Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will be shut down in March. Managing the site has become too stressful.
“Facebook has gotten out of control,” said Zuckerberg in a press conference outside his Palo Alto office, “and the stress of managing this company has ruined my life. I need to put an end to all the madness.”
Zuckerberg went on to explain that starting March 15th, users will no longer be able to access their Facebook accounts.
“After March 15th the whole website shuts down,” said Avrat Humarthi, Vice President of Technical Affairs at Facebook. “So if you ever want to see your pictures again, I recommend you take them off the internet. You won’t be able to get them back once Facebook goes out of business.”
Let me just give you a little perspective here. The Weekly World News is the publication that broke the story that Batboy is fathering Frankenstein’s child. So their credibility as a news source is kind of negligible.
And yet, incredibly enough, people believed Facebook could be shutting down. Then again, studies have found that most people don’t think “gullible” is in the dictionary, so take it with a grain of salt.
Of course, my favorite part of this whole ordeal is the great lengths news organizations went to debunk the story. As if a tabloid article was worth debunking. Yet amusingly enough, Mashable thought it was worth e-mailing Facebook to confirm or deny the story.
We have official confirmation from Facebook Director of Corporate Communications Larry Yu that the rumor is false. We asked him via e-mail if Facebook was shutting down on March 15, to which he responded, “The answer is no, so please help us put an end to this silliness.” He added, “We didn’t get the memo about shutting down and there’s lots to do, so we’ll just keep cranking away like always.”
So to recap: a tabloid reports something that is obviously untrue, idiots believe it, and Facebook has to officially deny that which is unnecessary to deny. It just goes to show you that people will believe anything they read without fact-checking it first.
(On a related note, I’d like to apologize for getting that Percy Cummings story wrong on our Christmas Spectacular episode. Apparently it was made up and untrue but I believed it without fact-checking it. So… my bad!)