Facebook hoax that says Mark Zuckerberg will give away billions widely discredited, but still being shared

The fake message claims that the site will search through the posts and give money away at midnight — but there’s been a lot of midnights since the scam began, and nobody has got any money

A Facebook scam that claims people will receive billions of dollars from Mark Zuckerberg is still being shared hundreds of thousands of times, despite a month passing since it began.

The hoax began soon after Mr Zuckerberg announced that he would put 99 per cent of his shares into a special vehicle that would allow him to give his money away. It claims that some of that money will be going to Facebook’s users, so long as they copy and paste a status onto their own profiles.

But while Mark Zuckerberg didn’t say precisely who would be receiving the money, there was no suggestion that he would be giving it away randomly to his site’s users. And certainly no scheme has been launched to allow people to share in a giveaway as long as they post the right words.

The scam has now been running for a month, after Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement at the beginning of December. But it still continues to be shared regularly.

New forms of the scam claim that it has been verified by authorities like Good Morning America. But there is still no reason to think that any money will be given away.

The message says that the money will be given away at midnight of an unspecified day. But there has been a huge number of days since the status first started being shared, and nobody has reported receiving any money.

It claims that 10 per cent the $45 billion in stock that Mr Zuckerberg will give away will be sent to normal people. The money will be given to 1000 people, it claims, who will receive $4.5 million each.

The message often begins in a range of different ways. Recently, for instance, users have started sharing it with an opening that stresses that though people might think that it is a hoax, it’s actually been on US TV show Good Morning America and so should be believed.

The rest of the message is almost always the same.

“Mark Zuckerberg has announced that he is giving away $45 billion of Facebook stock,” it says.

“What you may not have heard is that he plans to give 10% of it away to people like YOU and ME! All you have to do is copy and paste this message into a post IMMEDIATELY and tag 5-10 of your friends.

“At midnight PST, Facebook will search through the day’s posts and award 1000 people with $4.5 million EACH as a way of saying thank you for making Facebook such a powerful vehicle for connection and philanthropy.“

Since the wording changes, and many of the posts will be private, it isn't possible to see exactly how many people have been caught in the scam. But a search shows a huge number of people posting just public posts per day.