Copy and paste this to your Facebook wall: That Facebook status update that you just shared hoping you can still see updates from your friends? Yeah, it's a hoax.
Facebook is not going to limit status updates in your news feed to 25 people. No, really.
Here's the status update that is causing otherwise reasonable human beings to abandon logic (and apparently the ability to search Google):
"The new algorithm controlling Facebook's news feed now shows only posts from the same few people, about 25. Their system chooses the people to read your posts, but I would like to choose for myself. Therefore, I ask you a favor: please, right now...Leave me a quick comment, a 'hello,' a sticker, whatever you want - don't just 'like' - post something - so you will appear in my news feed. I have some interesting news coming and want to make sure it reaches you."
Then the status update urges everyone to copy and paste it to their own wall. And well-meaning friends have been doing just that. A LOT.
"Friends don't let friends copy and paste memes, and this one simply is not true," Facebook said in a statement. "We rank News Feed based on how relevant each post might be to you, and while we’ve made some updates that could increase the number of posts you see from your friends, your News Feed isn’t limited to 25 of them."
So what is it that makes us so gullible when it comes to Facebook hoaxes?
After all, Facebook has had to crack down on all kinds of misinformation — "FBI seizes over 3,000 penises during raid at morgue employee’s home" or "Popeyes manager arrested for allegedly dipping chicken in cocaine based flour to increase business sales." (And no, we did not just make up those headlines. Someone else did. And then you shared them because of course you did).
But one strain of fabricated posts Facebook can't seem to kill: Hoaxes and conspiracy theories about, well, Facebook.
These status updates — a particularly loathsome form of friend-sent spam inspired by those endless email chain letters from the Hotmail age — capitalize on what appears to be an innate distrust of Facebook and more pointedly of Facebook's mysterious black-box computer algorithms that decide behind the scenes what shows up in your news feed — and then, of course, get widely panned for doing it all wrong.
According to Snopes, this Facebook hoax first surfaced in December but began circulating more widely in January, around the time that Facebook announced a significant change to its philosophy about what kinds of status updates should be given a priority.
The giant social network says it's now going to try to show you more posts from friends and family that spark "meaningful" social interactions and it's downgrading links to articles and videos, which encourage you to passively scroll through your news feed. The idea: to make the time you spend on Facebook be "time well spent."
We have another idea for making that time count: Skip this bogus status update. Pass it on.