Perhaps the nastiest and most morally reprehensible of all Internet hoaxes are those that use stolen images of sick and injured children as a means of tricking well-meaning Facebook users into liking and sharing material.
Typically, these hoaxes claim that Facebook or another company will donate money to help a child whenever users like or share the child's picture. But, any message that claims that a company will donate money to help a sick child in exchange for liking or sharing an image is sure to be a hoax.
Some alternative versions do not claim that money will be donated but instead suggest that liking and sharing the picture equates to prayers for the child.
The people who create these hoaxes - fittingly referred to as "like-whores" by the Facebook community at large, do so to amass likes and shares and to drive Internet traffic to their websites or Facebook Pages. They take images of children from other sources without permission and reuse them in their despicable hoaxes.
Some who create such hoaxes apparently do so simply out of a sick and twisted desire to see how many likes and shares their disgraceful lies can muster. Others are motivated by greed. Facebook Pages with large numbers of likes can be sold on the black market to other unscrupulous Internet marketers and/or used to peddle products and services and launch further spam and scam campaigns.
The immoral individuals who create such hoaxes are beneath contempt. These people have no place on our social networks or within any decent community. Sharing such hoax messages is immoral and irresponsible. And since they do absolutely zero to help the pictured children, sharing these messages is utterly pointless as well.
If one of these hoaxes comes your way, please report it to Facebook. Please do NOT comment on the photo or the wall where the photo has been posted, as this gives the hoax more unwarranted exposure by putting the offending photo on to the news feeds of your Facebook friends.
You can also help by making sure that your Facebook friends are aware of such hoaxes and do not perpetrate the problem by liking and sharing them.
© Depositphotos.com/ Dariusz Galkowski