Facebook Status Messages are the New Chain Emails

“This status is being tracked. The owners of Facebook have confirmed they will send $1 to the rescue fund for Haiti every time this is cut and paste as a status.” Sound familiar? This recent status message hoax has been making its way around the popular social network, duping members into posting the status as their own in the hopes that, by doing so, they’ve somehow contributed to the Haitian earthquake disaster relief fund without having to actually open their own pocketbook to do so. While that would be nice if it was true, this hoax is just one of many found on Facebook today.

The hoodwinks, urban legends, fairy tales, humorous tall tales, and out-and-out scams that once arrived via our email inboxes have been slowly making their way to the world’s largest social network. And as before, people are being fooled into reposting because the message always comes from a trusted friend.

Just like the emails that once promised free money from Bill Gates for participation in a Microsoft email beta test, reposting a Facebook status isn’t going to produce money from thin air anymore than forwading a chain email message would have done in years past. And yet, the same people who are now savvy enough to junk the email forwards and scams into their Deleted Items folder in their inbox are blindly reposting status messages such as these as if they’re the gospel truth.

Folks, urban legends have evolved. Status messages are the new chain email.

Urban legends have filled our inboxes for years on end. Before the days of technology, these same stories were idly passed around via chats at the water cooler and over-the-fencepost gossip sessions with fellow neighbors. It’s said that the tales tap into a society’s dark underbelly by posing as cautionary tales about the dangerous world we live in (AIDS from a gas pump! A hook-handed murderer!), or they simply tap into our deepest hopes and dreams. (You can get rich quick! You just have to forward an email!). Legends like these may change over the years, but they will always be around in some form or another and they won’t be disappearing any time soon.