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Warning Claims Facebook Closing Business Profiles

Circulating Facebook message warns that Facebook is closing profiles that are considered businesses. The message notes that businesses using Facebook should use Facebook Pages instead of personal profiles.
Facebook sticker

© Petr Necas

Brief Analysis
It is true that Facebook can and does close personal profiles that are acting as businesses. Facebook profiles are for individual people only and should not be used for businesses, pets or causes. As noted in the message, Facebook Pages should be used for businesses instead.  Business owners who are currently using Facebook profiles can easily convert the profile to a Page.

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Detailed Analysis
This message, which is currently making its way around Facebook, warns that Facebook is closing personal profiles that are operating as businesses. The message suggests that people should create a Facebook Page for the business or change the name of the profile to the user's actual name.

While it is unclear if Facebook is actively flagging and closing ALL profiles acting as businesses, the warning is worth heeding. Facebook can and does close personal profiles that are set up to promote businesses.

Personal accounts - as the name implies - are intended for use by individuals. Setting up a personal Facebook profile for your business, your pet, your favourite cause, or as a platform to promote your political or spiritual agenda does not comply with Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.  Facebook Pages should be used for such topics instead.  The Registration and Account Security section of the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities notes:

You will not use your personal timeline primarily for your own commercial gain, and will use a Facebook Page for such purposes.

And, Facebook notes in its help files that personal accounts are for "individual, non-commercial use".

Thus, Facebook does have the right to disable personal accounts used for businesses and will exercise this right as it sees fit.

The good news is that, if you are using a personal profile as a business, you can easily convert it to a Facebook Page. And, in fact, Pages have significant advantages over a personal profile for promoting your business and measuring the effectiveness of your promotional activities.

Converting your existing business orientated profile to a Page would likely be a better option than creating a new Page as suggested in the warning message. Moreover, the advice in the message to rename your profile from that of your business to your actual name is problematical.  Even after such a name change, Facebook may still flag your profile as being in violation of its terms of use if it c Hoax-Slayer - New Articles

Message Asks Users to Support Lawsuit About Dog Shot By Police

Circulating social media message claims that police threw a chair at a dog, tasered and shot him and then left him to bleed to death. The message asks users to like and share to support a family's lawsuit against the police.
Lawsuit concept

© Samantha Craddock

Brief Analysis
The circulating message gives no details about where or when the alleged incident took place or who filed the complaint and has therefore been dismissed by many as a hoax or like-farming scam.  However, as detailed below, such a lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in July 2013.  (See Detailed Analysis for more information)

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Dog Shot

Detailed Analysis
This message, which is going viral on Facebook, asks users to like and share as a means of supporting a family's lawsuit regarding an incident in which police killed a dog. The message claims that police threw a chair at the dog, tasered him twice, shot him twice, and left him to bleed to death. The message features an image of the dog.

However, the message makes no mention at all of where or when the incident took place. Nor does it mention the name of those filing the lawsuit or even the name of the dog. This lack of detail, and the call to "like and share" has caused many recipients to dismiss the message as either a like-farming scam or a hoax.

In fact, such a lawsuit was filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court on July 10, 2013. The complaint states that police officers attending to a call about a shooting arrived at the residence of the dog's owner, Arturo Gonzalez and, even though he had no connection to the shooting, detained him in his car.  The complaint states that the dog, Chico Blue, was enclosed in Gonzalez’s yard at the time and was not a threat.  A press release about the lawsuit published on the Expand Animal Rights Now (EARN) website notes:

According to the complaint, Chico Blue posed no threat to the officers. However, one of the officers, apparently for his own amusement, picked up a lounge chair and threw it over the fence at Chico. Shortly after, another officer opened the gate to the area where the dog was securely enclosed and tasered him twice in the face. Chico Blue yelped in pain and despite Mr. Gonzalez’s repeated plea to let him take Chico Blue into his home, officers refused to acknowledge Mr. Gonzalez’s requests. After being tasered, Chico Blue staggered through the gate an officer had left opened. Even though the dog was already dazed and injured, an officer near the sidewalk drew his gun and shot Chico Blue twice. The dog attempted to flee by jumping into an officer’s open car door, where an officer kicked the door closed and allowed Chico Blue to bleed to death.

The complaint alleges that the conduct of Sheriff’s Department officers rises far above poor judgment to the level of inexplicable cruelty. The result was another unnecessary death of a family companion. Mr. Gonzalez’s complaint seeks justice for the officers’ misconduct.

In response to the incident, a Justice For Chico Blue Facebook Page was established. The incident has generated outrage, with many people voicing their condemnation of the police actions via Facebook and other online outlets.

According to a 2013%2F07%2F12%2Fla-deputies-shot-dog_n_3586993.html" t Hoax-Slayer - New Articles

Warning Claims Facebook Is Deleting Pet Profiles

Circulating message claims that Facebook is now deleting pet profiles and "crucial dog rescue pages" and advises users to save their data before it is too late.
Pets in front of a white background

© Erik Lam

Brief Analysis
Rumours of such pet profile crackdowns have been around for years and resurface regularly.  There are no indications that Facebook is systematically removing ALL pet profiles at this time. That said, however, Facebook certainly can and will remove personal accounts that are used for pets, causes or organizations. This is by no means a new policy. Facebook maintains that personal accounts are for people only and that Facebook Pages should be used for other purposes such as pet profiles or animal rescue groups. But, as described in the detailed analysis below, concerned users can easily convert personal accounts to Facebook Pages, thereby avoiding potential problems.

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Well, it looks like this is "good bye" to all pet profiles! Are you too waiting for the Facebook ax to drop? As you may have heard FB is now deleting friends Pet profiles and crucial dog rescues pages as I speak, even though millions of FB users love and really care about them. All your precious pictures, videos, & friends list that you've worked so hard for could vanish forever if you don't take action! Please read on!
The truth is, Facebook is no longer a fun community about and for its users and its starting to look like its falling from grace. I guess I won't miss it even if we get deleted and we may not come back, but who knows!

Personally what I miss & still want is the old Facebook that we all build together with our friends, their Pets and the important networks they've already established and not FB's idea of what we all should see, like or share!

We all know Facebook wants advertisers and the funny thing is dog food & pet product companies already advertise like crazy on all pet profile pages... I think Facebook doesn't get it or they are just being ridiculous.

First, if your profile pet picture has your pet's name and picture, you may want to replace both with yours ASAP to keep FB off your back for a while longer. Profile owners are only allowed a few name changes and this may help you temporarily!

IMPORTANT: Before you get deleted, and if you plan to make a comeback if it happens, it would be smart to download a copy of your "FB Data" which you can find inside your "Account Settings" area, in order to help you save everything you have shared with your friends (pictures, movies, comments, etc.) since the first day you joined the network.

Friends, please don't get caught off guard and do it ASAP before it's too late! If you get your pet's profile deleted or converted into a 'Fan Page' your pictures, movies, friends list, notes, etc., very likely will be gone forever!

Detailed Analysis
According to this widely distributed message, Facebook is now deleting pet profiles and dog rescue groups. The message warns uses to take action to protect their pet profile data before the Facebook axe drops on their accounts.

In fact, the same rumours have circulated for years and regularly regain momentum on the network.  There is nothing to indicate that Facebook is currently on a mission to remove ALL pet profiles. 

That said, however, it is true that Facebook can remove personal profiles set up for pets or other causes such as animal rescue groups. Facebook can and will disable accounts that do not comply with its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and this applies to pet profiles set up as personal accounts.

In the Registration and Account Security section of the Rights and Responsibilities statement, Facebook notes:

Facebook users provide their real names and information, and we need your help to keep it that way. Here are some commitments you make to us relating to registering and maintaining the security of your account:

Hoax-Slayer - New Articles

No, Facebook Is NOT Removing Veteran Amputee Images

Circulating message claims that Facebook is removing images depicting veteran amputees because the images are considered offensive and against Facebook's Community Standards.

Brief Analysis
There is no evidence to support the claims in the message. The amputee image included in the message has been shared thousands of times and has not been removed. Moreover, many other images of amputees have been posted to Facebook and remain there. The message is almost certainly nothing more than a callous attempt to collect likes and shares for a particular, political orientated, Facebook profile.

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Facebook is removing Veteran Amputees photos' and calling them offensive and against the Community Standards of Facebook. Please like and share

Casey Owens

Image credit: Jonathan Ernst - Reuters

Detailed Analysis
According to this would-be protest message, Facebook is removing images depicting veteran amputees because such images are offensive and are against the company's Community Standards. The message features a photograph of a wounded Marine in a wheelchair and asks that users like and share.

However, the claim that Facebook is removing veteran amputee images is unfounded. There is no evidence whatsoever to support this claim. And, ironically, the image that the message puts forward as evidence of Facebook's dastardly deeds has now been shared thousands of times and is certainly not being removed.

Moreover, many other images depicting amputees - both veteran and civilian - are regularly posted on Facebook. Many of the images have been on Facebook for months or years with nary a sign of removal.

Thus, the claims in the message are nonsense.

It seems that the supposed protest message is nothing more than a callous and calculated attempt to promote a particular Facebook profile via likes and shares. Every time users like, share or comment on the message and image, they are effectively promoting the originating Facebook profile and its obvious political agenda.

The man in the photograph is Casey Owens, a Marine who was wounded in Iraq. The photograph was taken in 2005 during President Bush's second inauguration and was published via the Washington Post. Misusing Casey Owen's photograph in this false message is reprehensible. 

Do not cater to the desires of these loathsome like-whores by liking, sharing or commenting on their material.

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Last updated: September 6, 2013
First published: September 6, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen


Hoax-Slayer - New Articles

Carnival Cruise Free Vacation Packages Survey Scam

Message purporting to be from "Carnival Cruise" claims that Facebook users can win an all-expenses-paid vacation package by liking and sharing a promotional image and clicking a link to apply for the free tickets.
Cruise ship Carnival Triumph on the Caribbean Sea

© Stephen Goodwin

Brief Analysis
The message is a scam and has no connection to Carnival Cruise Lines. There is no prize. The message is designed to trick users into promoting the bogus material and participating in a survey scam.

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We at ~Carnival Cruise~ are currently having a great year and would like to share our good fortune with our loving fans! We are giving away Vacation Packages to any of our cruise locations. Which will include all expenses paid for 7 days (ROOM - SUITE & $ 1,200 SPENDING MONEY) for you and 3 of your friends.

To be entered to win all you have to do is the following:

1. LIKE and SHARE this photo!
2. To Claim Your Free Tickets Click the following link --> 
[Link Removed]

and that's it!

Good Luck , ~Carnival Cruise~

Carnival Cruise

Detailed Analysis

According to this message, which is being spammed across Facebook, "~Carnival Cruise~" is giving away all-expenses-paid Vacation Packages to any of their cruise locations. All users need do to win, explains the message, is to like and share a promotional image and then click a link to claim the free tickets.

However, the message is a scam. No vacation packages are being given away and those who participate will win nothing whatsoever. The message – and its associated Facebook Page – has no connection to Carnival Cruise Lines.

The real Carnival Cruise Lines has confirmed via its Facebook Page that the supposed promotion is not legitimate. 

The scam has two primary purposes:

1: To trick Facebook users into promoting the bogus message by liking, sharing and commenting. By interacting with the message, users are effectively spamming their friends with the same fake prize scam material. And, Facebook Pages that accumulate a large number of likes can later be sold on the black market to other unscrupulous Internet marketers and/or rebranded for use in further spam and scam campaigns.

2: To trick users into participating in suspect online surveys.  Those who click the link to claim their "prize" will be told that they must participate in one or more surveys before they can submit their prize application form:

Carnival Cruise

When users click on the survey links, they will be taken to various third party websites that offer further prize entries for survey participation. Often, users will be told that they must enter their phone number to subscribe to a very expensive text message service as a condition of entry. Or, they might be asked to provide personal and contact information, which will result in them receiving unwanted promotional phone calls, emails and junk mail.

The people who create these survey scams receive commissions via dodgy affiliate marketing schemes whenever a user starts an SMS subscription or provides their personal information.

Survey and like-farming scams are becoming increasingly common on Facebook. Scammers are creating new versions targeting many different companies every day. Beware of any Page or message that claims that you can win an expensive prize just by liking and sharing. An Hoax-Slayer - New Articles

Bogus LinkedIn Invites Open Drug Store Spam Sites

Message purporting to be from business orientated social network LinkedIn claims that a user has invited the recipient to connect on the network.
Assorted Medicines

© Lorelyn Medina

Brief Analysis
The message closely resembles a genuine LinkedIn invite email.  However, the links in the message do not go to LinkedIn. Instead, they open a dodgy "Canadian Pharmacy" website that attempts to peddle drugs to unwary visitors.

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Subject: Invitation to connect on LinkedIn

[Name Removed]  wants to connect with you on LinkedIn.


Detailed Analysis
According to this message, which purports to be from business social network LinkedIn, a user wants to connect with the recipient on the network. The message is very similar in appearance and wording to a genuine LinkedIn invite email.

However, the "Accept" button and secondary links in the message do not open the LinkedIn website as expected. Instead, they lead to an incarnation of the notorious Canadian Pharmacy website hosted in Russia. The dodgy website peddles all kinds of pharmaceutical products without asking for prescriptions.

By disguising their spam message as something completely unrelated to pharmaceutical products, the spammers hope that the message will slip past spam filters and trick at least a few users into clicking the link. Once on the site, most users would likely make a hasty retreat. But a few will apparently stay to buy some of the site's dodgy products. The fact that this tactic has been used multiple times in similar spam campaigns suggests that it actually works.

Of course, it is very foolish and potentially dangerous to buy any medicines from such bogus pharmacy sites. While customers may actually receive a product they order, they have no way of knowing if it is really the medication they were seeking. And the quality of the product may be highly questionable.  More importantly, because a doctor has not prescribed the medicine, it may interfere with other medications that customers are taking or be unsuitable due to other health conditions.

Moreover, such sites often do not use secure pages to process credit card transactions, which could put the customer's credit card details at risk. And, any organization willing to use underhand and deceptive spam campaigns to attract customers certainly should never be trusted with credit card details or other personal information.

LinkedIn's name has been used in similar Canadian Pharmacy spam campaigns in the past, as have other social networks, including Facebook and Twitter.

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Hoax-Slayer - New Articles
Miley Cyrus

© Jean_Nelson

Brief Analysis
Miley Cyrus is not dead. The message is a scam designed to trick Facebook users into installing rogue apps or malicious browser extensions. Do not click on any links in the message.

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--BREAKING-NEWS- [R.I.P.] -MILEY CYRUS commits SUICIDE after traumatic stress -[Rest in Peace]-
hollywooddailydose/exclusive (for 18 years and abo...
MILEY recorded a suicide video message for her fans. (watch more..)

Detailed Analysis
According to a message that is being distributed across Facebook, popular entertainer Miley Cyrus has committed suicide due to "traumatic stress". The R.I.P. message claims that uses can click a link to view a video suicide message that Miley Cyrus supposedly made for her fans.

However, Miley is not dead. The message is a scam designed to trick users into clicking a link in the post. At the time of writing, the malicious page that the link opened had already been removed from Facebook. However, the scammers responsible for the fake message are likely to create new incarnations of the scam with active links. The bogus Facebook Page most likely attempted to trick users into installing a rogue Facebook application, adding a malicious browser extension and/or participating in survey scams.

Scammers regular use fake news about celebrities to trick people into clicking malicious links. In 2012, a widespread scam campaign claimed that people who clicked a link could view a salacious video of Miley. However, the link actually enticed users into handing access to their Facebook accounts to criminals and participating in bogus online surveys. And, earlier in 2013, messages falsely claiming that actor Jackie Chan had died in an accident tried to trick users into installing rogue apps or malicious browser extensions.

Celebrity death hoaxes are very common. It is important to verify all such messages via a legitimate news source before sharing them. If a high profile celebrity such as Miley Cyrus really did commit suicide, reports of the death would be extensively covered by the mainstream media all around the world.  If you receive this or another unverified celebrity death message, do not click on any links that it contains.

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Last updated: September 3, 2013
First published: September 3, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen


Hoax-Slayer - New Articles

Viral Image Depicts Woman Holding Gun to A Baby’s Head

A widely circulated Internet message asks users to share an image depicting a young woman holding a gun to a baby's head in the hope that the woman can be identified.

Brief Analysis
The circumstances in which the photograph was taken remain unclear. Many commentators have suggested that the gun is not real. Others have countered by pointing out that the act may still be considered abuse even if the gun wasn't real. But, although the image is certainly disturbing, it may have been just a foolish prank. The picture alone is not enough to ascertain if the child is being abused or is in any danger. The blogger who posted the picture now claims that relevant authorities have been informed and are dealing with the matter.  And the matter should certainly be now left for authorities to deal with as they see fit.

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I was sent this picture today by a friend who was very distressed to see it on her page.It apparently was posted to see if anybody could find the girl and if they cared well we do care and we have to find this baby as this scares the hell out of me

Baby Gun Head

Detailed Analysis
A rather disturbing image, which depicts a young woman holding a gun to a baby's head, is currently going viral on Facebook and other social media websites.  A link in the circulating message points to a post on the NoLongerVictims blog.  The post asks people to share the image all over the Internet in the hope that someone can identify the woman.

Some reports suggest that the woman may live in Buenos Aires, Argentina and the picture was posted to an Argentinian Facebook page on August 12, 2013.

The image has created a great deal of commentary with some baying for the woman's blood while others suggest that the scene depicted may not be as heinous as it appears.  Many have pointed out that the gun may well be a replica or a toy. Others have countered by noting that, even if the gun was fake, the image is no less disturbing and the child's welfare needs to be ascertained.

In a follow-up post on the same blog, the writer explains that the image has been reported to the relevant authorities and they are dealing with the issue.

But, there lies the problem.  It would have perhaps been considerably wiser to report the matter and let authorities attend to it without publicly posting the image and requesting that it be shared worldwide. If authorities needed help to find out the identity of the woman, then it would be up to them to make relevant information available to the public.

The picture alone is not enough to ascertain if the child is being abused or is in any danger. The picture may be nothing more than a foolish moment in time with a toy gun forever immortalized and now made public for the world to see and to judge. Or perhaps it does show something more sinister. Without further details, we can only speculate on the circumstances in which the picture was taken.

But, given that the matter has reportedly being dealt with by those with the authority and power to do so, the further circulation of the image may be counterproductive.  The widespread dissemination of such messages can hinder police investiga Hoax-Slayer - New Articles

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