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Bebo.com Closing Down Hoax

Summary:
Email claims that social networking site bebo.com is closing down and warns that recipients will be charged $10 per month to keep their accounts if they do not forward the message to others (Full commentary below.)



Status:
False

Example:(Submitted, August 2006)
Hey it is Andy the director of Bebo (www.bebo.com) Tim Buiski, sorry for the interruption but Bebo is closing the system down because too many inconsiderate people are taking up all the names, we only have 578 names left, if you would like to close your account, then do not send this message out, if you would like to keep your account, then send this message to everyone on your contact list. This is no joke, we are really shutting down the servers. Send it, thanks, Tim Buiski

WHO EVER DOES NOT SEND THIS MESSAGE, YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE CLOSED AND WILL COST $10.00 A MONTH TO USE, SEND THIS TO EVERYONE ON YOUR LIST.



Commentary:
This message claims that social networking site bebo.com is closing down because "inconsiderate people are taking up all the names". The message warns that, if recipients do not send the message to others, they will be charged $10 per month to use their Bebo accounts.

However, like its long and sorry line of predecessors, the message is pure nonsense. From time to time, a new version of the hoax message begins circulating with slightly different details. Here, the hoax targets Bebo.com. However, other versions with virtually identical text claim that MSN is the company closing down:
Hey it is Andy and john the directors of MSN, sorry for the interruption but msn is closing down. this is because too many inconsiderate people are taking up all the name (eg making up lots of different accounts for just one person), we only have 578 names left. If you would like to close your account, DO NOT SEND THIS MESSAGE ON. If you would like to keep your account, then SEND THIS MESSAGE TO EVERYONE ON YOUR CONTACT LIST. This is no joke, we will be shutting down the servers. Send it on,

Yet another version that also features "director" Tim Buiski is aimed at Yahoo users:
Hey its the director of yahoo, Tim Buiski, Sorry for the interuption, but Yahoo is closing the system down because too many booters are taking up all the names, we only have 57 names left, if you would like to close your account, don't send this mesage, if you want to keep your account, send this message to everyone on your list. This is no joke, you'll be sorry you didn't send it. Thanks, Director of Yahoo, Tim Buiski, WHOEVER DOESN'T SEND THIS MESSAGE YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE DEACTIVATED AND IT WILL COST $10.00 A month to USE IT TO SEND

All versions of the hoax are completely untrue. No legitimate company would alert customers to impending account closures via such vague and poorly written emails. Nor would they attempt to force users to forward the message to others by threatening to close the accounts of those who do not comply.

Versions of the hoax have been circulating for several years. Despite claims in the messages, none of the services targeted have closed down or began charging for previously free accounts. As noted, messages aimed at different online services are very similar in style and phrasing. This indicates that the same messages are simply recycled occasionally by unimaginative pranksters to suit a new and different audience. And of course, there is nothing on the Bebo website to back up the claims in the message in any way.

This warning message and all its foolish cousins, should be deleted.

Other Versions of the Hoax:
MSN 18 Contacts Hoax
MSN Messenger 500,000 Signatures Hoax
AOL 100,000 Signatures Hoax
Hotmail Account Hoax

Last updated: 30th August 2006
First published: 30th August 2006

Write-up by Brett M.Christensen