What would make more than 2 million Facebook users share one guy's photoshopped picture of a ticket with the winning Powerball numbers? Raise your little pinky, do your best Dr. Evil voice, and say it with me now: one meeeellion dollars.
"Looks like I won't be going to work EVER!" user Nolan Daniels posted to the social network on Thursday night, captioning the fake ticket photo above. "Share this photo and I will give a random person 1 million dollars!"
The numbers were a fairly obvious Photoshop job, and the notion of someone who just won US$239 million inviting all sorts of trouble by posting such a picture on Facebook is faintly ridiculous. But to confirm the fakery, as Gawker points out, you need only know that Powerball tickets are printed in numerical order.
"...This guy should get in trouble for this," wrote Victoria Caron in the photo's comment section.
"... I think Facebook should ban you from ever going on their site for entertainment to cause innocent people false hope," wrote Ingraham Blackwell Jennie. "You need psychological help...a nurse."
Others, who continued to share and believe in the prize after it was revealed a hoax, wrote in the photo's comments about how they were in need of money or to offer their congratulations.
"It'd be so nice to have the money to pursue actual passion, not struggle every month," wrote Cassandra Angeline Willyard. "Congratulations!"
Now, Facebook isn't exactly short of falsehoods and misguided re-posting, as you may have noticed earlier last week when a "copyright notice" went viral. But Daniels' post shows what happens when you add the promise of a large amount of cash to the mix.
Check the comments on the picture and you'll see a number of Daniels' friends posting increasingly nervous notes as the share count climbs higher and higher. And no wonder. Offering $US1 million that doesn't exist may not be a scam in this case, as what you're tricking out of people (their re-shares) isn't exactly worth anything.
But it does walk right up to the borderline between joke and scam - and may invite retribution.
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