“Friendship” chain email claims that the recipient will be able to view a funny video clip if he or she sends it to at least seven other people.
MAY YOU ALWAYS HAVE A RAINBOW OF SMILES ON YOUR FACE AND IN YOUR HEART FOREVER AND EVER!
Forward this to at least 7 people and see what happens on your screen . You will laugh your head off!!!!!!!!!!!
This is the coolest thing I have ever gotten.. All you have to do is send it to 7 people and watch your screen, it is the funniest clip. I can’t tell you what is but I was laughing so hard I almost fell off my chair!!! So, send it to those 7 people and watch.
The above message is just one among dozens of similar email chain letters that claim that “something” will happen if the recipient forwards the message to a specified number of others. This example claims that a very funny video clip will appear on the user’s computer screen once he or she has forwarded it to at least seven other people. Other versions claim that a picture will appear or will change, a program will launch, or the computer will behave in an unexpected way when the messages are forwarded to others. This version masquerades as a simple message about friendship. In other cases, the message may have a religious or spiritual message.
Regardless of the specific content of the messages, none will deliver the promised surprise. These messages are simply juvenile pranks designed to trick people into forwarding the emails onward. Many recipients are fooled into sending on such messages in the forlorn hope that the promised “surprise” will appear on their screens. Alas, in reality, nothing whatsoever will appear. By promising that “something” will happen, these hoax messages employ an integrated mechanism for self-propagation and may therefore keep circulating for months or even years at a time. By the time that the recipient realizes that nothing is going to happen, he or she will have already sent on the message to several other people.
Since I first began researching email hoaxes several years ago, I have received hundreds of these silly “forward for a surprise” emails. However, in spite of thorough testing “just in case”, not one has ever worked as promised. Moreover, an examination of the underlying source code of such messages reveals no hidden programs or scripts that could possibly launch the promised surprise or any evidence that any such mechanism was ever included.
While these prank emails are certainly less potentially harmful than other varieties of email nonsense, they still needlessly clutter inboxes with even more useless garbage. Moreover, they are apt to make the sender look rather foolish in the eyes of his or her more computer literate friends.
Last updated: 23rd June 2008
First published: 23rd June 2008
By Brett M. Christensen