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Facebook 'Closed for Maintenance' Prank

Outline
Social media messages warn users that Facebook will be closed for maintenance between the 29th and 31st of February and that recipients should send on the information so that other users will also be aware of the closure.



Prank Keyboard

Analysis
Not surprisingly, the message is just a silly prank, although it apparently continues to fool at least some recipients. Firstly, no, Facebook is NOT going to be closed for maintenance. That claim is simply absurd. And secondly, even if it was to close, it certainly would not be occurring on the 30th and 31st of February, which, quite obviously, are not real dates. Nor is 2014 a leap year, so there is no upcoming February 29th either. Versions of the same "warning" have circulated since at least 2011.

In late 2013, a graphical version of the hoax began circulating on Facebook.

This prank exemplifies how the immediacy and ease of use of social media can apparently cause many users to share or repost without due forethought or the application of even basic common sense. One would think that even the most gullible and wide-eyed among us would sense something amiss if they were only to take more than a cursory glance at the message and take in the improbable date.

Mind you, there have been plenty of similar hoaxes that have continued to fool more gullible Internet users year in year out. One long running predecessor of this hoax has claimed, every April Fools Day since at least 2005, that the entire Internet was scheduled to be closed for maintenance for a 24 hour period during which a "tune-up" will be performed and "high pressure information jets" will be used to "clear out the bottlenecks".

And there have been numerous silly hoaxes that have falsely claim that Facebook is to be shutdown due to congestion or because managing the site has become too stressful for the redoubtable Mr Zuckerburg.

These types of fake messages are clearly nothing more than leg-pulls. But, so long as there are users out there that are too quick to hit the share button or too gullible to realize that they are being pranked, such missives will continue to circulate.

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Last updated: February 5, 2013
First published: February 5, 2013
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Examples
Facebook CLosed February

Attention !! Facebook sera fermé pour maintenance du 29 au 31 février. Faites passer à vos contacts pour qu'ils soient au courant.Merci

WARNING!! Facebook will be closed for maintenance from February 29th to 31st!! Facebook wants YOU to Share this message with at least 15 of your friends for the best chance of alerting everyone. Many people will try to log in from February 29 to 31, just to find the site closed down for those days with no warning. HELP YOUR FACEBOOK FAMILY -- REPOST THIS



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References

Yearly Internet Maintenance Prank Email
Facebook Deleting Inactive Users Hoax
Hoax - Facebook Shutting Down on May (or March) 15, 2013


Last updated: December 29, 2013
First published: February 5, 2013
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer



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