This message, which is circulating via social media, email, and SMS, warns you not to use the French flag overlay on your Facebook profile because, if you do so, terrorist group ISIS will find you and kill you and your family.
The post asks you to share the information about the perceived threat with your friends and family. A number of people have contacted me to ask if the warning has any substance. The answer of course, is that no, it has no substance whatsoever.
While the recent terrorist attacks in Paris have understandably raised fear and alarm among communities, this nonsensical warning is nothing more than rampant paranoia. There is no credible information or official warnings that support the claim that ISIS might somehow be intending to target individual Facebook users who are using the French flag overlay. The warning does not cite any references to back up its claim. And, the scenario described is vastly improbable. Given that millions of users from all over the world are now using the overlay, ISIS would certainly have its work cut out for it.
The message may be a garbled version of another unsubstantiated rumour that suggested that ISIS could use the ‘support Paris pic’ to track down and identify members of the military and their families. But, since the flag overlay is being used by millions of people who are not members of any military force and have no family connection to serving military members, that version of the warning is also illogical and without credibility.
Terrorist groups such as ISIS want to spread disruption, fear, and terror. These utterly pointless and paranoid warnings just play into their hands.
**WARNING**: DO NOT put the France flag as your profile picture (no offense to the French) I’m warning you all. The Isis will find you and kill you and your family. Government and Obama is getting ready to fight the Isis. After France is the USA… Then so on and so fourth. Please get ready and share this status for you and your family/friends. Copy and Paste”
Last updated: November 18, 2015
First published: November 18, 2015
By Brett M. Christensen
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!