How to Stop the Next Viral Facebook Post Outbreak

Citizens of Internetland: we are at war, and the enemy is a virus. Not the kind we’re used to hearing about, one that spreads via suspicious emails and turns our machines into mindless zombies for massive denial of service attacks, but one that is passed by human contact — specifically, posts on Facebook — and turns us into mindless zombies.

Monday’s outbreak of a fake privacy notice, one that urged users to claim back the copyright on their Facebook posts by making a declaration, was the last straw. Not only because it should have been blindingly obvious that this pseudo-legal babble was nonsense, but because the fake notice had done the rounds once already this year, back in July.

Luckily this one wasn’t a dangerous scam, like the Facebook post that claimed to offer free flights on Southwest but actually spammed your entire friend list, or the offer of a free iPad mini that got you to install a dubious app, or the “you’re tagged in a photo” honey trap. It was more of a chain letter, like the Facebook pricing scam.

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