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Facebook Gold Account Hoaxes

Status updates being passed around on Facebook supposedly provide information about how to gain access to an enhanced version of Facebook called "Facebook Gold".

Brief Analysis
There is no such thing as a Facebook Gold account. The Facebook Gold status updates are designed to fool people into joining one of many bogus Facebook groups. In some cases, these groups are nothing more than foolish pranks that waste the time of Facebook users. Other variations attempt to fool members into visiting dubious third party websites or installing invasive Facebook applications. All such Facebook Gold invitations and groups should be ignored.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

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Last updated: 22nd February 2010
First published: 22nd February 2010
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer

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Detailed Analysis
Social networking website, Facebook, has again been inundated with bogus status updates, this time in the forum of messages that provide information about upgrading to "Facebook Gold". Supposedly, Facebook Gold is an enhanced, fee-based, version of the standard Facebook that offers users a series of extra options and features.

© Shkitenkov

Facebook Gold Account Hoax
There is no such thing as a Facebook Gold account. Groups and messages that claim that you can upgrade to Facebook Gold are fraudulent
However, there is no such thing as a Facebook Gold Account. All messages and groups that claim to provide instructions for upgrading to a Facebook Gold account are bogus and in no way officially endorsed by Facebook management. At the time of writing, Facebook has not announced any plans to release an enhanced version of its service.

Links in these messages generally lead to one of dozens of Facebook groups that supposedly provide instructions for upgrading to a free Facebook Gold account. In some cases, the groups appear to be nothing more than mindless pranks with no real purpose other than to gather members under false pretences. For example, some claim that, in order to upgrade, all the member needs to do is add a "Facebook Gold" logo (See third example above) as their profile picture and update their status to let other Facebook users know about the supposed upgrade.

Other such groups appear to have more sinister motives. In many of the groups, the user is instructed to visit a third party website and fill in a survey, supposedly as prerequisite to gaining Facebook Gold membership. To complete the survey, the user must submit a mobile phone number, ostensibly in order to view the results of the survey, However, "fine print" terms of service conditions on the survey page note that, by providing a phone number, the visitor is actually signing up to an ongoing twice weekly SMS service that will be billed at over $6 per message along with an initial joining fee. Thus, these Facebook Gold groups are nothing more than underhand schemes designed to trick users into signing up for dubious and expensive SMS services. Other bogus groups may try to trick users into paying upfront fees or providing sensitive personal information.

Still other groups claim that, in order to gain access to Facebook Gold, users must install a Facebook app that supposedly performs the upgrade. However, reports indicate that this app is nothing more than an invasive promotion tool for the particular group that offers it. Installing such apps will certainly not upgrade your account to Facebook Gold.

All of these bogus groups claim that you must invite all of your friends to join before you will receive your "upgrade". Because of these tactics, Facebook Gold misinformation has circulated rapidly and continuously around the network. And bogus "Facebook Gold" groups have sprung up like noxious weeds, in some cases gaining hundreds of thousands of members. The fraudulent groups also employ other tactics to make their claims seem more believable. For example, one such group includes what appears to be a series of "Wall" posts complete with comment box. However, the posts and comment box are actually a static screenshot, not a genuine Facebook wall page. Clicking on the fake comment box just leads the user to the bogus Facebook Gold sign-up page. Not surprisingly, all of the fake "comments" included in the screenshot are designed to fool visitors into believing that the claims on the group are real.

Other widely circulating rumours that falsely claim that Facebook will soon begin charging users for its services have apparently helped to fuel the "Facebook Gold rumours.

Thus, Facebook users should ignore any invitations that claim that they can upgrade to a Facebook Gold account. Do not join any Facebook Gold groups or install any apps that supposedly upgrade your account to Facebook Gold. To reiterate, there is no such thing as a Facebook Gold account and any messages or groups that claim you can get such an account are entirely fraudulent. Like other Internet based services, Facebook may decide at some point to offer its users an enhanced, fee-based version. However, if such a service is ever offered , you can rest assured that the company will vigorously promote it via its own official channels, not via vague status updates or fake groups that require users to sign up on dubious third party websites.

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Last updated: 22nd February 2010
First published: 22nd February 2010
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer