It seems kind of amazing that these posts are still going around, but once again, it looks like some people are being duped by a chain letter-style Facebook post telling them that the social network won't be available February 29-31, 2013.
And it's kind of funny, because they're right.
While the website won't be making any changes or shutting down for maintenance in the foreseeable future, it won't be accessible on those days -- because those days don't actually exist. February 29 only comes up in leap years (which this year is not), and February 30 and 31 aren't real calendar days.
Nevertheless, many people have likely seen this post appear on their Facebook wall, asking them to spread the word:
"Share this message with at least 15 of your friends for the best chance of alerting everyone," reads a message circulating on Facebook, according to Mother Nature Network. "Many people will try to log in from February 29 to 31, just to find the site closed down for those days with no warning."
Like the email chain letters that preceded them, these kinds of posts on Facebook are just one more way for people to have a bit of fun at someone else's expense, or to try and scam others. While no one loses any money on this particular scam, there are still dozens out there that could potentially expose your sensitive information to unwelcome parties if you're not cautious.
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If you're faced with what appears to be a chain message via Facebook, there are some basic rules to follow:
- If it asks you to click a link or send along personal info, don't. Facebook has more official means of contacting you than a Wall Post put up by one of your friends.
- Before entering in any sensitive information, including your Facebook password (or any other password), banking information, or home address, verify that the URL you're visiting is actually Facebook. And as a point of common sense, you probably shouldn't be too generous with your banking info and address to Facebook, either.
- Use common sense. Read 'important messages' that are meant to be official communications from Facebook twice, since chances are good they aren't real. And if a message is promising something that sounds too good to be true — like a free iPad or money just for reposting —then it almost always is.
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