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Harvard Expert Explains Why People Fall for the Latest Facebook Hoax • Mirror Daily

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Internet hoaxes will never cease – we should get used to that – as they are the plague of online following the annoying yet catchy pattern of the chain messages. But is there a rational explanation as to why people still fall for them every time?

As a rule of thumb, if someone asks you to share a status that claims to have legal value, it’s a hoax. However, it turns out that many users have bought into the declaration making its rounds on Facebook that allegedly prohibits anyone from owning the content you post on their network.

Surely all of us have seen it pop on our news feeds, and you probably considered posting it, too. And even if you’re one of those who fell for it, there’s no need to feel bad about it.

According to Rey Junco, a faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard, there are some perfectly legit reasons why you would feel compelled to share a hoax. Basically, it’s a mix of privacy paranoia, lack of tech savvy, and a pinch of laziness in doing the least bit of research on the subject.

But more than anything, Junco says it has something to do with our levels of “ego investment.” In other words, this fancy term deals with how much people care about a certain matter. That, in turn, will influence the amount of time and dedication they will spend investigating and sharing their information about it.

In addition to caring about their Facebook content enough to keep sharing the hoax, Junco also believes that “a paranoid mindset can override a dubious one,” which leads to a lot of users adopting a “just in case” attitude. “Just in case the message I’m about to share is true” is a mentality that makes people want to be on better safe than sorry.

This is, however, not the first time the fake Facebook privacy notice has popped on the social network. Ever since its first iteration in 2012, it’s been coming back on the regular, for reasons unknown. At the same time, this is – again – not the first time Facebook has diligently debunked such hoaxes, trying to ease everyone’s minds.

Experts argue that the Facebook hoax hits a particularly soft spot in our desire to keep control of our privacy, a subject that’s still a mystery for a lot of users. Basically, the hoax is the result of everyone wanting Facebook to respect their privacy, when hardly anyone reads the terms of service agreements.
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