chain_jpg_2.pngWith all the recent talk of spam and viruses lately it appears Facebook has truly hit mainstream. You know when the spammers have hit there is truly value in a service. Today I noticed a new trend on Facebook, previously only known to the likes of Snail Mail and E-mail itself, the chain letter. It wasn’t in the form of an application or even a bot of some sort as you would expect on the service. Surprisingly, it was hand-written by who-knows-who and had somehow made it around to my wife’s cousin, who sent it to me. Subsequently, several of my other friends seem to have got it, because I received it from a few others as well.

The letter goes like this:

“Subject: ATTENTION ALL FACEBOOK MEMBERS August 20 at 8:13pmReply Attention all Facebook members.Facebook is recently becoming very overpopulated,There have been many members complaining that Facebookis becoming very slow.Record shows that the reason isthat there are too many non-active Facebook membersAnd on the other side too many new Facebook members.We will be sending this messages around to see if theMembers are active or not,If you’re active please sendto 15 other users using Copy+Paste to show that you are activeThose who do not send this message within 2 weeks,The user will be deleted without hesitation to create more space,If Facebook is still overpopulated we kindly ask for donations but until then send this message to all your friends and make sure you sendthis message to show me that your active and not deleted. Founder of FacebookMark Zuckerber”

It is sent via the traditional Facebook mail, which the API has no access. I asked my wife’s cousin if they sent it, and indeed, they actually did forward it to 15 of their friends as the e-mail directs. Therefore it appears this one, amazingly, is being spread, manually, from person to person on Facebook.

Now, I’m probably preaching to the choir here on my blog, as I sincerely hope none of you would fall for this. Typically, anything that says, “forward to x number of your friends” is not for real and you should report it or mark it as spam immediately. “Mark Zuckerber” is not going to know you forwarded it to all your friends, and Facebook is not tracking this mail in anyway. Your account will not be deleted.

This seems to go back to the days of the Microsoft lottery e-mail hoax that basically said if you forward to all (or any number of) your friends, you get entered for the chance to win a million dollars (or similar amount of money). Supposedly in this e-mail Bill Gates was able to track the e-mails you sent and they were using this to track the number of e-mails that went out.

This does beg the question though – how do normal users of Facebook know for 100% clarity that a message comes directly from Facebook, if they ever need to send something to their users? Is there an “official” method for distributing such messages? Thus far I’m only aware of various blogs on the Facebook site to announce this information.

Now, when people compare Mark Zuckerberg to Bill Gates, I’m not quite sure this is the way he wants to be portrayed. In such a controlled environment as Facebook, do messages like this have any excuse?

Have you seen anything similar? Share your stories here. You’ll find me on Facebook at