Stop Sick Children Hoaxes from Spreading, Raise Awareness

Almost every day while surfing social media networks, especially Facebook, we come across a large number of scams and hoax messages. Some offer fabulous prizes, some offer outrageous video and others promise a unique feature.

All these scams and hoax messages are malicious, most of them being designed to harm the integrity of our computing systems, but there is one type of hoax that harms something much more than a computer. We’re referring to a particular type of hoax that involves photographs of ill or disabled children in hospitals.

While most Facebook members rush to share these phony messages, presumably because Facebook, Google, or AOL donates an amount of money for each Share, few stop to think that not only no one donates a dime, but the parents of the children involved suffer a great deal because of these scam messages.

In some instances, Facebook page owners even rely on these scams to gain fans, which makes it even worse.

What many don’t know is that some of these children already passed away some years ago, the presence of these pictures causing a lot of grief and suffering to the parents and those who actually knew the ones featured in the photos.

There are a number of websites and blogs that try to raise awareness on these issues, teaching users how to identify and avoid them, but since their efforts haven’t paid off so far, some of them launched an awareness raising campaign.

Thatsnonsense, Hoax Slayer, The Bulldog Estate, and Facebookprivacyandsecurity call out to media representatives with a new campaign that not only intends to educate users, but also tries to pressure Facebook into better dealing with these scams.

You may wonder why Facebook would need to be pressured.

Mainly because while websites and blogs are doing a decent job informing people, the social media site responds too slowly when asked to remove these hoaxes and especially the pictures that accompany them.

Thousands of these scam messages are submitted to sites such as Facecrooks or Hoax Slayer and while they do their best at informing people, Facebook does a lousy job at removing the pictures, which is why they need to be pressured into devising better, more efficient ways of handling these issues.

In the meanwhile, until Facebook acts to address the issue, next time you see a hoax that features a disabled or sick child, refrain from sharing, linking or commenting on it. If we ignore these scams long enough, eventually they may disappear.

Also, make sure to report the pictures to Facebook by pressing the Report Photo button in the lower right corner.

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