Nolan Daniels, the man behind the Facebook lottery ticket hoax, has given an explanation for his behavior.
It was a little while ago, so we’ll recap for you: In late November, Daniels posted a photo of himself to Facebook, in which he is holding up a lottery ticket that is photoshopped to reflect the winning numbers from that night’s Powerball. With the photo, Daniels pledged to give $1 million of his lottery winnings away to one lucky Facebook user among the millions who share his photo.
The photo has approximately 2 million shares as of this writing. You may recall that I shared it myself. Couldn’t hurt, right?
Handed the soapbox that is The Huffington Post, Daniels gave an explanation for the hoax, which was seen by some as cruel and mean-spirited. Daniels, for his part, is hiding behind the convenient “it was all a social experiment” explanation:
“I quickly snapped a photo and spent 15 minutes moving the numbers to look like winning numbers. I knew that they were out of order, and that the remaining winner had a 10-pick ticket, but I also knew that would add to my curiosity of who reads the news and does their research before clicking a button.
“Eighteen hours after posting, I think it was already up to 400,000 shares, and three days later, more than 2 million. Why did it spread so quickly? Looking back on it, the fact that there was no link or anything to promote made it more believable to those who may not usually fall for it. My profile was set to private except the photo, so it wasn’t like I was promoting my page. And the fact that times are tough and people will do anything to get a piece of the big money all came into play.”
So basically, Daniels was inspired to show us all what greedy b-tards we are.
Still, Daniels has pledged to wield his influence for the greater good, and said that he was contacted by a woman with out-of-control medical expenses stemming from a brain disorder. He set up a fundraiser for her, and has raised $2,500.
“Instead of thinking of ways to profit from a hoax or eating up media attention, I spent the weekend setting up a fundraiser for Brooke and was determined to use my short-term fame to reach out to one person in need and, at minimum, bring awareness for her and others with her condition. So far, 59 people have donated to Brooke in 10 days, and ASAP.org has been receiving donations, as well. Unfortunately, giving isn’t as popular as receiving, but I applaud those few who choose to do so.”
I’m not really mad at Nolan Daniels, nor do I think his Facebook lottery ticket hoax was cruel or mean-spirited. I see and concede his point about the power of social media and the ease with which false information can go viral quicker than it can be stopped.
But I really take issue with the whole “it was all a social experiment” explanation. That’s Psychology 101; college freshman-level faux-insight, and only incredibly naive populations of such classrooms will fall for such a well-dressed explanation bereft of authentic substance.
Mr. Daniels, the charity aspect is great, but it seems like it’s only there to cushion the criticism that readers will now only throw at you with incredible reluctance. “Well it was a mean joke, but he’s helping sick people, so I guess I can’t say anything.”
You wasted what looks like 600-700 words explaining yourself when you could have done it with six.
“I did it for the lulz.”
I think that would have been more honest. And I think people would have accepted it.
If you are reading this Mr. Daniels, I encourage you to reach out to me for an interview/follow-up. I’ll gladly give you a fair shake, but someone has to ask you some tough questions about your Facebook lottery ticket hoax.