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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.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 2013 a leap year, so there is no February 29th this year either. Versions of the same "warning" have circulated since at least 2011. One version that is currently gaining momentum is in French, although English variants also continue to be passed around.

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".

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