If everyone else were doing it…

I’m not sure that this completely matches the definition of “hoax,” but it’s definitely something silly and perhaps misleading that people have been talking about on Facebook lately.

This has to do with “fixing” some of the latest changes that Fb has made to its site. If you are an easily frustrated person who doesn’t like the new Facebook style, then you have probably tried several different methods to return your page to the glory days of uniform updating.

Here is the message that I have seen going around Facebook about a similar problem:

“TO FIX the new ‘show similar posts’, go To
your Profile, click the button BELOW “Share” and then click on Settings
and then in the ‘Stories posted by friends’ section simply uncheck the
“Combine Posts” box. That’s all there is to it. The posts will come back
like they used …to be. Pass it on since what you have done affects your
posts only so it may take awhile for all to uncheck the box… 🙂 “

The person who originally asked me about this post stated that she could not get it to work in IE, Firefox, or Chrome. Apparently she REALLY wanted it to work, so she tried every web browser that she had. I was interested in the legitimacy of these instructions, so I followed her example. Alas, no dice for me in Chrome, IE, or Firefox either. After spending more than five minutes on it, I was willing to mark this as BS and move on with life. We have to adapt to changes in the real world, so learning how to roll with the punches in the virtual world is probably a good skill to pick up.

Later on, though, I heard from a friend of a friend (yeah, I know, that’s such a valid source) that the above technique only works if everyone does it. I asked, what do you mean by everyone? Everyone that I’m friends with? Everyone on a certain network? Everyone on Facebook.

He said that he didn’t know the specifics, but he guessed that it was EVERYONE, as in EVERYONE on Facebook.

This was interesting to me because I smelled a counter hoax. First, what idiot would instruct a social networking site to do something only when every single user made the request? Second, how would you even know that the site would comply properly when everyone made the request (ie, how do you test that)?

It’s totally not a big deal. Just a lot of rumors flying around. But it’s good exercise for the old BS sniffer and it shows how nuanced a hoax can become even when no one is consciously pulling the strings.

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~ by facebookhoaxes on April 20, 2010.

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