'It's official... signal at 12:20 it even passed on TV. Facebook will start charging this summer. If you copy this on your wall your icon will turn blue and Facebook will be free for you. Please pass this message if not your count will be deleted. P.S. this is serious the icon turns blue, so please put this on your wall.'
Between 12.30 last night and 1.30 this afternoon, my Facebook news feed became flooded with this one post.
It's the official mark of stupidity -- the chain status/wall post/message/'like' page claiming that Facebook is going to start charging. It's full of misspellings, weird grammar, repetition, and things that don't even make sense (what does 'signal at 12:20' even mean? 'Your icon will turn blue'... what icon?)
First off, if Facebook was going to implement a major, major change such as charging money, they would send you an official message from the Facebook team through... Facebook (what a coincidence!). They've done it before; when they update the privacy settings for instance. If you log in one day and Facebook asks for money and you haven't heard anything about it, obviously you haven't checked your Facebook in like six months, therefore you don't use it often enough to bother keeping up the account, free or not.
Of course, a change like that would almost certainly hit the news, but I'm very sure every Facebook account holder would get the news directly from Facebook very far in advance.
Also, assuming this post was true, it would tell you which TV network it showed up on, wouldn't it? TV in this age includes thousands of channels. Just saying 'it was on TV' does not make your claim (or anyone else's) valid.
One more thing... no way on earth will posting a certain message on a certain webpage change an icon. It would require too much extra time to build the code to make that happen and then be able to launch it on several million accounts all at once. Even their message/chat integration thing was rolled out slowly over a period of at least six months. To write the code that would make a certain (unspecified) icon turn blue when a particular (highly unprofessionally written) status was posted would be more complicated then the message/chat integration and therefore would take at least as much time to roll out for everyone. It would not start working for everyone all at the same time as the status insinuates.
So next time you see one of these things and are tempted to repost it... don't. Think through it logically and then decide not to post it. Because if you do repost it, it will make you look a huge bumbling idiot to your family, your friends, your enemies who are your Facebook friends anyway, and that really cute, really smart guy (or girl) you have a huge crush on.