If you see this stuff on Facebook, don’t pay it any mind. And don’t copy and paste it to your feed or anywhere else. It’s just junk, it’s Facebook copypasta, and you don’t need to be part of this paperless chain letter.
You can read more about this rubbish on Snopes. This one has been making the rounds for several years…
Have you seen something else on Facebook, where it asks/urges/demands that you copy and paste it into a new post? Don’t do it. The push for you to copy and paste on Facebook should be a red flag that something is not right.
If you choose to copy and paste something, that could be different. Perhaps you want to spread some info, but make some changes first. Maybe you want to remove a name for privacy’s sake, or edit the grammar and spelling to clean it up a bit. That’s legitimate, and you decided to do it.
But when another poster is pushing people to copy and paste, there are different reasons for that, and they are not good.
- Facebook intends for people to spread posts using the Share function. This creates a trail, so that you can see where a post came from, leading from one Share to another. This also means that if the original Shared post is removed for any reason, the entire Share-hierarchy disappears.
But with copypasta, every post is independent. If the original is removed, no other posts are affected. This means that a misinformation copypasta is going to be far more difficult to eradicate or correct. And it may also lead to misinformation growth, as the post may be changed and added onto with each successive copy.
- Copypasta defeats privacy boundaries on Facebook. A post in a Facebook group cannot be shared beyond that group. Another post that was set to “Friends Only” cannot be seen by the Public, even if Shared. But copying and pasting defeats all of that, because the new post is, again, independent.
- The originator may never be found. Facebook and other people can track a Shared post back many levels, and find the source. But after someone starts a copypasta chain letter, they may decide to delete their post that started it all, and exit stage right. Maybe they want to avoid the consequences of their actions? Like Facebook Jail?
In short: Don’t copy and paste on Facebook, unless you decide that it is prudent. Using the Share function is more sensible. But even that doesn’t prevent misinformation or harm. Think twice and check facts before passing anything on.