Question from Judy: It seems like just about everything that people share in large numbers on Facebook is either a scam or it’s dangerous in some way.
I keep seeing people share the “How Hard Did Aging Hit You” challenge thing and I was wondering if it’s a scam?
I don’t mind seeing them (I think they’re cute) but I don’t want them on my Facebook if they’re dangerous.
Rick’s answer: Judy, you’re right about many of the things that are shared on Facebook being scams, but the “How Hard Did Aging Hit You” challenge isn’t one of them.
It actually isn’t dangerous in any way as long the people sharing their “first and last” profile photos don’t mind the fact that literally anyone on the Internet could possibly end up seeing and/or stealing them regardless of their privacy settings (see Tip #1 below).
First of all, there is nothing being “shared” with this challenge in the way that things are typically shared on Facebook.
Every person that accepts this challenge creates their own original post. Nothing that was received from another user is actually shared. The text of the challenge is simply copied and then pasted into a brand new post.
Second, although it can seem like it sometimes, not everything that’s shared on Facebook is a scam.
Every day I see tons of useful and interesting status updates and photos that were shared multiple times land in my Newsfeed, and most of them aren’t scams.
I post several tech tips and photos myself on a daily basis that are often widely shared, and I can assure you that none of them are scams.
Things like family photos, prayer requests, birthday greeting and other types of personal posts are exactly the types of things that Facebook was designed for, and there is nothing scammy or dangerous about sharing them with our friends.
Now all of the above being said, there really are a LOT of scams that are shared on Facebook in various ways, but luckily the vast majority of them are easy to recognize if we pay close attention to what they say.
Here are a few things that indicate that a post is almost certainly a scam or hoax:
1 – The message in the post simply doesn’t add up or make sense. Enough said on this one.
2 – The post promises you’ll receive a free product or service simply for liking, sharing or commenting on the post.
Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but those exceptions will ALWAYS be posted by the company itself on their official Facebook page.
If you can’t trace the origin of a shared “giveaway” post back to the company’s official page you can safely assume that it’s a scam.
3 – The post tells you to forward it to all of your friends, either by clicking the “Share” button or by forwarding it via Instant Message.
4 – The post claims you can change some aspect of Facebook’s Terms of Service (TOS) simply by posting something on your Timeline.
There are other dead give-aways that a post is a scam that you’ll (hopefully) recognize when you see them.
Bottom line: The “How Hard Did Aging Hit You” challenge that’s making the rounds isn’t a scam or a hoax. You can safely view these posts in your Newsfeed and even create one yourself if you like with no problems whatsoever.
Bonus tip #1: Did you know that any photo you post on Facebook can potentially be stolen and posted elsewhere on the Internet even if you have its privacy set to “Friends”?
Well it can, and it happens all the time. This post explains how.
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