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No, Facebook is not going to charge users a privacy fee

If you've visited Facebook this week you may have seen a post (or two) appear in your newsfeed warning that the social media site is going to institute a fee for users to keep their profiles private.

The message encourages users to copy and paste the text (not share) and post it if they want to be exempt from the fee.

It seems harmless enough, but it's actually a hoax and it could set you up for future scams.

Facebook identified the post as a fake on Monday.

While there may be water on Mars, don't believe everything you read on the internet today. Facebook is free and it...

Posted by Facebook on Monday, September 28, 2015

This particular hoax has circulated the Internet in several variations since 2009 and continues to attract unsuspecting users.

While liking a post or photo will not spread a virus or steal a user's information, subscribing to a page or clicking on links could pose a threat. Scammers can use these pages to spread malware, trick users into sharing personal information and to collect published data from profiles.

The Facebook privacy hoax is one of many fake posts circulating social media. Earlier this year, bogus United Airlines and Disney pages posted giveaway scams and attracted thousands of users.

More than 25,000 people responded to the fake Disney post and more than 40,000 users interacted with the page pretending to be United Airlines, according to The Consumerist.

Red flags

Posts from companies advertising special giveaways are not uncommon, but could be fraudulent. Always look for the fine print or links to participation guidelines.

There are specific rules that businesses must follow when offering a contest. Whenever a company issues a promotion it is paired with a lengthy terms and conditions statement. The next time you see an advertisement for a sweepstakes pay close attention to the all of the supplementary material that they are require to provide.

In addition, major companies will likely be verified users, as indicated by a check mark in a blue circle on their page.