Facebook to shutdown March 15th?

Shocked? You’re not the only one.  This news caught millions of people off guard, after the now confirmed FALSE rumour went viral on the internet.

The hoax was started by weeklyworldnews.com, and the rumours it started, continue to circulate.

According to an article by J.B Smitts posted to the website January 9th, Mark Zuckerberg announced in a press conference outside of his office in Palo Alto, CA , that Facebook will be shut down in March.  This is supposedly because “Managing the site has become too stressfull.”

“Facebook has gotten out of control,” said Zuckerburg, according to the website. He supposedly added, “The stress of managing this company has ruined my life.  I need to put an end to this madness.”  These quotes are believed to be fabricated.

Also false, include quotations claimed to come from Avrat Humharthi, Vice President of Technical Affairs at Facebook.  Humharti supposedly advised facebook users to get their pictures off the site while they still can.  “After March 15th the whole website shuts down,” he is reported to have said.

This false rumour spread like wildfire across social networks, and at one point even became Google’s 14th hottest search, according to Google Trends.

In response, a day later (January 10th),  CNN posted its own article saying that Facebook will NOT be shutting down.  In this article by CNN’s Charlie White, Larry Yu, the Director of Corporate Communications for Facebook confirmed that the rumor is false.

In an email interview conducted by CNN, Yu said, “The answer is no, so please help us put an end to this silliness.”  To which he added, “We didn’t get the memo about shutting down and there’s lots to do, so we’ll just keep cranking away like always.”

Frank Lake, from weeklyworldnews.com, posted a second article on January 16th.  In this article he claims that though “Facebook continues to deny rumours it is shutting down March 15, WWN however, has confirmed that it is true.”

According to this article, the previous article’s author, J.B Smitts has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for breaking “the international story.”

This second article includes quotes from unspecified “Facebook Insiders,” who confirm that the company is making plans for the shutdown.

This is followed by a fake “Save Facebook” online petition, with hundreds of fabricated signatures.

WWN claims to be “The only reliable news source on this–and all–breaking news stories.”

This “reliability” is highly questionable, as other stories on the site include articles claiming that Megan Fox is a man, Michelle Obama is pregnant, and even as outrageous as an article about alien spaceships en route to attack earth.

In addition to this, Facebook  just received a very large investment  from Goldman Sachs and Digital Sky Technologies, which makes it even more unlikely that Facebook will shutdown anytime soon.