Stop the spamming!

Mark Naser | Fulcrum Contributor

THE AD PROMISING a $500 gift card to Victoria’s Secret. There’s also the ad offering a free trip to a tropical island of your choosing. Or how about the online ad just giving away thousands of a dollars.?There’s still a surplus of gullible Gilberts who hit “share” thinking it’s possible to get something for nothing just by clicking.

On the surface, the fake offers seem pretty harmless. So you’ve got to cringe once more when scrolling through your newsfeed, not because of a self-absorbed status, but because you realize you have too many friends who lack in the critical thinking department.

But spamming your Facebook friends with phony offers goes beyond poor judgment. It’s poor etiquette. Ever had someone tag you in a photo because they’ll get free swag if they tag a certain number of people? Congrats, Sarah, on your 15 Starbucks gift cards worth 20 bucks. Just so everyone’s clear, it costs companies nothing to give out those types of gift cards if it means free advertising.

What’s especially face-palm inducing are the spelling errors in spam messages—those should really tip anyone to their illegitimacy. Granted, thanks to the Internet we’ve learned that not everyone can differentiate between “then” and “than,” but some people who are considered literate make the mistake of thinking a bogus offer is the real deal.

I saw a photo the other day of a supposed U.S. lotto winner grinning and holding up a winning ticket. The caption read, and I quote, “Yes, I am one of the winner of 580$ Million Powerball :) I will pick 10 random people to get 1 Million $ each if you share this.” He then provides his Twitter handle asking users to follow him. A rational mind would question this juncture, asking perhaps, “what’s up with this dude’s grammar? What state in the U.S. has adopted the custom of putting the dollar sign after the amount? And most importantly, why would this guy give away ten million dollars to complete strangers?

Many people apparently believe there’s a chance this man is telling the truth and they could be one of the lucky winners. Like Pascal’s wager, you might assert there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain. But there is a cost—your dignity. Facebook is a public forum. When you share spam like that, you’re not only encouraging this sometimes harmful practice, you’re telling your friends you lack the mental faculties to separate fact from fiction.

Cut your Internet, unwitting spam-forwarders. You don’t need it anymore. There’s a Nigerian prince waiting to whisk you off to a world where you can buy all the gift cards you want. The flight may even be free.