Hey, share this image and Microsoft founder Bill Gates will give you $5,000! You know he’s good for it, he’s Bill friggin’ Gates!
If you see the above post on Facebook, shame your friends for posting it. Shame them hard. It’s complete bunk, and we’ll tell you why (though in this instance, we really shouldn’t have to).
Debunking viral hoaxes is kind of simple, really. You can usually tell the nature of a hoax like the Bill Gates one above following some simple criteria. First, stop to think (before you hit “share”). Then, if it seems too good to be true, if it’s spreading like wildfire, and if it features some pretty sad Photoshop (or MS Paint), it’s probably a hoax.
Let’s break down the Bill Gates $5,000 Facebook hoax. It won’t take long.
The image you’re looking at above is actually an altered version of this image:
Which, to the casual Redditor, is standard “verification” for a Reddit IAmA (Ask Me Anything). If you don’t know anything about Reddit, the IAmA is an opportunity for a celebrity or well-known figure to engage with users in the Reddit forum who are allowed to, as the title suggests, ask them any question they like.
Basically, the IAmA is what Twitter would be like if celebrities actually gave a crap when you tweet them.
Bill Gates’ IAmA was two days ago. You can check it out here.
From there, someone altered the verification photo with some extremely questionable Photoshop/MS Paint to take advantage of poor little you. If you shared this post, you have fallen victim to a viral hoax. If not, good for you, you win the Internet.
Author: Dusten Carlson
Dusten has written for web and print and currently spends his time working on his upcoming graphic novel. He is also almost 30 and still has all of his hair.