Facebook hoax back after three year hiatus

A viral Facebook message is spreading across the social media site, but don't worry it's just a hoax.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Scrolling through Facebook you’ve probably seen some of your friends post a message claiming the social media site has rights to your content and will start charging a subscription fee. Don’t worry, it’s just a hoax.

“It’s time for the every few years big Facebook hoax posts,” technology expert John Kaufeld said. “They just start running rampant for some reason. Apparently this is the season.”

Kaufeld said it’s been done before. You might remember seeing a similar message pop up on your news feed in 2012, but this time there’s a new element. It claims users have to pay Facebook a subscription fee of $5.99 to keep their profile private, or don’t pay and let everyone see your photos and posts, but repost the message and it’s free. Kaufeld said that’s something you’ll never have to worry about.

“What people really forget is that Facebook isn’t a product,” Kaufeld said. “We are a product to Facebook, so they’re not going to charge us because they make money off us. If all of a sudden everybody left Facebook, Facebook would lose money. This would be bad.”

Seventy percent of adults who use computers regularly are on Facebook. It’s a changing demographic from when the social media site was first created 11 years ago for college students.

“We’re penetrating into audiences that aren’t very tech savvy. They simply just haven’t seen this,” Kaufeld said. “Every time I see the hoaxes go around it does make me wonder have we just reached another generation of Facebook users that they weren’t around in 2012 when we saw the hoax the last time, so for those folks this is the first time.”

If something you see on any social media site sounds a little fishy – do a little research.

“Look at a post and pick out a couple of key words. The Rome Statute post for instance, go to Google and type in Facebook Rome Statute. Immediately Google pops up a whole page full of things that say are says, “Are you talking about the Facebook Rome Statute post?” That’s a nice easy way to debunk it,” Kaufeld said.

There’s no threat to your personal information if you shared the post. Kaufeld said the only threat might be a little social embarrassment when you’re friends let you know you fell victim to the hoax.

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