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No one will die if you don’t share this

Chain Letter
Poster from the movie Chain Letter.

Which is worse – people who write chain letters or people who fall for them? Facebook has become the new place for waste-of-time chain letters to flourish because of the ease of sharing. It used to be email.

The worst ones are those that tell you some sad story about an abused child or a sick animal with the added message that something bad will happen to someone if you don’t forward it to five friends. Slightly nicer versions say something good will happen to you if you forward it to five friends.

People who believe that crap are the same people who believe horoscopes. I don’t care how much Russell Grant and Mystic Meg have read up on astrology, numerology and psychology, you will never convince me that horoscopes are anything more than bollockology. Chain letters are exactly the same.

One popular variant which started out as snail mail was “this letter is being tracked by Royal Mail for charity. Every time it is posted on, Royal Mail is counting and money will be donated to charity”. Words to that effect. There is no way Royal Mail would or could do anything of the kind. This scam became an email a few years ago but suddenly it was Microsoft that was supposed to be doing the tracking – again, not something Microsoft can do because it doesn’t handle or route every email on the planet.

In the past few years, we’ve seen a growth in ridiculous claims made on Facebook about privacy breaches and the idea that you are going to be charged to continue to use it.

The sad thing is that most of the people who share such crap are intelligent, thoughtful people. They share it “just in case”, usually with a message along the lines of “I don’t usually believe this stuff but this one I’m sharing just in case”. Why? It is always a scam, always made up by some loon just trying to have a laugh or, worse, harvest email addresses or get you to open some link that installs a Trojan virus.

How ironic it is that we have more fast access to information nowadays such that we are better informed (if we bother to look) yet it is so easy to keep sharing and liking stuff without thinking, people tend to choose the latter over the former.

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