Facebook users are inadvertently spreading a hoax on the social network, encouraging each other to share a fake story. This one claims a 14-year-old boy was beaten badly by his stepfather after protecting his little sister from being raped. It goes on to say the social networking giant will donate 45 cents for every time a user reposts or shares the message, which comes accompanied with an image of a young boy's injured torso. While these people likely have good intentions, the truth is that this story is baseless.
The plea comes in the form of the following message:
A 14 years old boy got beaten half dead by his stepfather.He only tried to protect his little sister from being raped.Now he's struggling for his life,but doctors say he won't make it without a surgery.His mother doesn't have money to pay it.Facebook donates 45cents for every sharing or reposting.Please help.
This hoax is spreading like wildfire on Facebook, despite there being any actual information. As Sophos points out, you should notice the message does not include a link to an official Facebook blog announcing the initiative, details on where in the world the boy might be, a date for when the supposed incident occurred, nor links to news stories that corroborate the claims. In other words, this hoax is designed to spread for many years after its first appearance.
Remember: Facebook, or any other company for that matter, will never donate money based on the number of times something is e-mailed, Facebooked, reposted, shared, tweeted, and so on. In this case, Facebook is not donating money for this boy because the story is a fake. If it was real, and Facebook was donating money, it would likely do so in one lump sum.
As a general word of caution, don't believe everything you read on the Internet. Also, don't blindly copy and paste warnings just because your Facebook friend's status tells you to do so. Although you probably mean well, you could be helping a hoax become more popular on the social network.