Bill Gates offers $5000 for a Facebook share? It's an old joke and still not funny

Facebook users are spreading a message across the social network, claiming that Bill Gates will cough up $5000 if you share a photograph of him.

Here's the message:

Bill Gates hoax message

The photograph shows Bill Gates, holding a piece of paper which appears to contain the following words:

Hey Facebook,

As you some of you may know, I'm Bill Gates. If you click the "share" link, I will give you $5000. It's about time I give back to the people!

Bill Gates is an extraordinary charitable fellow, but he has far worthier causes to donate to than Facebook users who click a share button.

Despite that seemingly blindingly obvious fact, hundreds of thousands of Facebook users *have* shared the picture.

Bill Gates hoax

What those half a million Facebook users seem not to have realised is that the image has been Photoshopped to contain the bogus message from Bill Gates.

The genuine image, which the hoax picture is based upon, was used by Bill Gates to verify his identity on Reddit:

Bill Gates on Reddit

It's trivial, with that original image to work from, for a mischief-maker to change the message displayed on Bill Gates's piece of paper.

In fact, this isn't the first time that the image of Microsoft's founder has spread far and wide across Facebook. Last year, I reported how another doctored version of the Bill Gates image had been distributed with a slightly different image poking fun at Windows XP.

Bill Gates share hoax, referencing Windows XP

Hey Facebook,

As some of you may know, I'm Bill Gates. If you click that share link, I will give you $5,000. I always deliver, I mean, I brought you Windows XP, right?

Of course, all of these messages aren't designed to harm your computer or scam you out of some hard-earned cash. But they are all contributing to the "noise" and misinformation on the internet, and are evidence of just how trusting computer users can be, and how willingly they will share messages with their friends without checking their facts.

If you share silly joke messages like this - whether you realise they are nonsense or not - you are helping to foster an atmosphere where forwarding hoaxes, dubious claims, dodgy links and chain letters is considered the norm.

And that means that your friends and family might find it harder to pick out when a scam or piece of malware shares a dodgy link via your Facebook account.

If you are on Facebook, and want to be kept updated with news about the latest hoaxes, security and privacy risks, and receive tips on how to protect yourself online, join the Graham Cluley Security News Facebook page.

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4 Responses

  1. Coyote

    May 15, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

    Ha, reminds me of the old chain email so many years ago, long before many (I dare say all the users spreading this are included in this group) even knew what email is let alone the Internet or the web…. Let's see, that would be… well, the original was somewhere in 1997 (thought I had a copy as I remember some fool sending it to me, that or someone sending it for the humour aspect of it, but I cannot find it so I looked it up. The year however does seem about right). Some of the people with their oh so "smart" this, "smart" that along with their precious social media weren't even born and many of those who were born (and same deal as above) probably weren't on the Internet….

    Indeed: ancient (I guess that means I'm ancient by some people's standards but I rather prefer "wise" and always expanding on that as only a fool thinks himself to be wise enough) and pathetic "joke" (at best). Main differences of course: this is not text (like the old one… you know, before websites were cluttered in email…), this is being spread via facebook (as opposed to email), and this one is $5k instead of $1k. I wonder if in another 17 years we'll see another one but at $9k (let's hope not).

  2. Rosemary Deardoff

    October 13, 2014 at 2:17 am #

    I could have really used the five thousands dollars .
    Man , I hope it's really true . That would truly be a blessing for us .

  3. Anna Dobin

    June 14, 2015 at 4:26 am #

    I wanted this to be true. I never saw it before. I thought I was lucky. Oh well!!!

  4. Arlene Tanner

    July 2, 2015 at 8:18 am #

    Mr Gates I really need the help thinking about grandkids,clothing ,food,out of work.Not all the 5,000.00 but a little help. Thanks Arlene Tanner

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