The Kritic

Jayden K. Smith and His Friends

Jayden K. Smith and His FriendsSource: TKK

In the late 1990’s social media consisted of Web based forums covering a main topic and a subset topics based on the main. The other version was an email based list that you signed up for and you would receive emails 24 hours a day. Due to the sheer volume of emails these email lists were very strict with their rules especially if a thread went off-topic.

I was learning Macromedia Flash at the time and was part of the Flash email list. Due to the volume of threads and the amount of emails it was a very difficult list to keep up with so off-topic posts were pounced upon and repeat offenders blocked and so was born The Flashlounge email list. The Flashlounge was, as the name implies, a lounge for members of the flash community it was full of topics not necessarily Flash related. A variety of topics were covered, it was basically a free-for-all with everything from understanding ActionScript to the colour of the sky to who did what too whom and what the days joke was.

The reason I mention this is that even back then there were hoaxers that would love to post something that was either not entirely true or designed to get a reaction in order to get the longest thread of the day, in Facebook parlance the “thread” is the list of comments on a post and the length of the thread is likened to the number of shares. So in some way or another Jayden K. Smith and his friends have been around a very long time.

Hoaxes are designed to trick and deceive and most often are humorous however sometimes they can be malicious. Hoaxes that come across as malicious may not necessarily be so but they can instil fear in the recipient. Often this fear can manifest a need in the recipient to want to warn their friends and family thereby perpetuating the hoax.

Facebook is an excellent medium for the hoaxer. It has allowed for millions of people with limited internet experience to be on a forum that is designed to facilitate the perpetuation of information, which is exactly what the originator of a hoax wants.

Some examples of Facebook based hoaxes are:

  1. Please tell all the contacts in your Messenger list, not to accept Jayden K. Smith friendship request. He is a hacker and has the system connected to your Facebook account. If one of your contacts accepts it, you will also be hacked, so make sure that all your friends know it. Thanks. Forwarded as received[1]

  2. Message all of your friends list and let them know that a fraudulent company that is using a device to gain access to the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Card, which contains all subscriber related data (this is the brains in the phone) in your cellular telephone. The scam artist places a call to an unsuspecting person and the caller says he or she is testing mobile telephone circuits or equipment. The called party is asked to press #90 or #09. If this happens END THE CALL IMMEDIATELY with out pressing the numbers. Once you press #90 or #09 the company can access your SIM Card and makes calls at your expense.[2]

  3. A widely circulated photograph (I wont show the photograph as I am sure most of you have seen a bull that has been stabbed by a bull “fighter”) shows eighteen-year-old Colombian torero Álvaro Múnera (known by the nickname “El Pilarico”). The photograph displayed purports to have captured Múnera at the very moment, in the middle of a bullfight, when he came to the realisation that what he was doing was an injustice to animals and he decided to henceforth campaign against bullfighting.[3]

  4. I do not give Facebook or any entities associated with Facebook permission to use my pictures, information, messages or posts, both past and future. With this statement, I give notice to Facebook it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, or take any other action against me based on this profile and/or its contents. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of privacy can be punished by law (UCC 1-308- 1 1 308-103 and the Rome Statute). NOTE: Facebook is now a public entity. All members must post a note like this. If you prefer, you can copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once it will be tactically allowing the use of your photos, as well as the information contained in the profile status updates. Do not share. Copy and Paste.[4]

Actual scams are few and far between. If you do get a message warning of a scam, a hoax or a hacker simply select the text and copy and paste it into Google and more often than not it will provide you a link to a website such as hoax-slayer.net or snopes.com both of these websites will explain the hoax and usually give you a breakdown of why it is a hoax or a scam. If there is any evidence of the matter being real they’ll let you know as well.

So do yourself a favour as well as possibly save yourself some embarrassment and check the messages out before forwarding them on to your friends. It will also prevent the recipient from being annoyed as quite often you are not the only one forwarding the hoax.

[1] Jayden K. Smith friendship request – http://www.snopes.com/computer/internet/hackermail.asp
[2] Pressing #90 or #09 – http://www.snopes.com/fraud/telephone/jailcall.asp
[3] Álvaro Múnera – The Last Bullfight – http://www.snopes.com/photos/people/munera.asp
[4] Facebook disclosing your information – http://www.hoax-slayer.net/completely-pointless-misleading-facebook-privacy-notice/