Fake Lottery Winner Went Viral

Thu 6 December 2012 10:00, Vitto Christaldi

Fake Lottery Winner Went Viral

Facebook users will share anything, even though the post is obviously fake. Last week, the U.S. lottery game, Powerball, announced the two winners of the $ 587.5 million (or more than € 450 million). A couple of hours later, a Facebook user named Nolan Daniel claimed to be one of the winners, posted a photo of himself with a lottery ticket saying “Looks like I won’t be going to work EVER! Share this photo and I will give a random person 1 million dollars!” His photo was shared a thousand times per minute, although sadly it was a hoax.

By Friday afternoon, the picture has been shared almost half a million times, which rose to a half million on Saturday. One of Nolan Daniel’s friends asked if he was serious and he replied “239 million! I’m out celebrating now.” The popular news blog, Gawker, examined the photo and immediately called out the photo as a hoax, saying “You don't even have to examine the pixels to tell this is a fake. While the numbers on Daniels' ticket do match those that won half of the record $587.5 million jackpot, they're not in numerical order. A real ticket would be, from the official Powerball FAQ: ‘The tickets print the white ball numbers (the first five numbers) in numerical order.’” Besides, it was clear that number 16 and 5 were photoshopped (the original was probably 46 and 55 or 65).


Even then it was clear that it was a hoax, people kept sharing the photo until it reached the number of two million on Sunday, and it keeps increasing. According to various websites, his fake photo is probably the most shared Facebook post of all times. 

Again it proves that social media users will share anything and that most people are too lazy to do research the truth before they retweet/repost/share the information. BuzzFeed, as reported by Belgium news site, deredactie.be, responded to this false viral post, saying “Every Facebook user is an idiot!

This shared euphoria reminds me of Justin Bieber cancer hoax that spread through Twitter more than a month ago. The Twitter hoax claimed that the pop icon was diagnosed with cancer. Right after the rumor spread, tribute videos, Facebook pages and a website, BaldforBieber.com, were launched, followed by collective shaving head actions by his fans. Seriously people? How stupid can you be, shaving your head for an obvious hoax message?

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